Crackdown on sale of vapes to under 18s

Published: Thursday, 1 December 2022

Havering Council’s licensing and trading standards teams have been out across the borough checking on whether local retailers are selling age-restricted goods to young people aged under 18.

The latest operations took place in Hornchurch, Upminster and Romford.

The teams visited different premises with teenage volunteers helping officers by going into the businesses.

They attempted to buy a product that can only be sold to someone over 18.

These visits focused on e-cigarettes, also known as vapes.

Out of the six premises visited, one business did sell a vape to the young volunteer. 

Officers will now speak with the business as to what action will be taken next and give necessary advice and support.

Four other businesses refused to sell the age-restricted goods and officers will re-visit a shop which was closed at the time of the operation.

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“We’re pleased that the majority of our businesses are being compliant and not selling products they shouldn’t be, to our young people.

“Our businesses should know that we will take action on those that don’t comply and if necessary, prosecute.

"We also offer support and guidance to all our businesses to help them comply.

“If we continue to work together, then we can all play our part in helping keep our young people safer.”

Since April there has been over 60 test purchase operations focusing on the sale of knives, tobacco, alcohol, vapes and fireworks.

Out of those visits, eight businesses failed the test by selling one of the products to someone underage.

The businesses were issued with warnings as it was a first offence.

Council officers have been supporting with training for them and their staff, plus getting them signed up for initiatives such as the Challenge 25 scheme.

Challenge 25 is a scheme that encourages anyone who is over 18 but looks under 25 to carry acceptable ID when they want to buy alcohol.

All businesses are re-visited and any further failures, may result in a review of their licence or prosecution.