Discount store owner prosecuted for selling vapes to underage children

Vaping products
Vaping products

A discount store owner has been prosecuted and fined this week after a disposable vaping device was sold to an underage teenager.

A test purchase operation by Lancashire County Council’s trading standards team saw a 14-year-old girl successfully buy an Elf Bar 600 Disposable Pod from J & C Bargain Store, 345 Leyland Lane, Leyland on February 14.

The Elf Bar should only be sold to over 18s, and the shop owner who made the sale has been hit with a fine at Lancaster Magistrates Court.

The court heard that the discount store on Leyland Lane sold a nicotine inhaling product to a 14-year-old trading standards volunteer on February 14.

Azeem Patel, who owns the business, was fined £184, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34 and council costs of £200.

Lancashire County Council's trading standards team carried out the test purchase operation in response to a huge increase in the number of complaints relating to underage sales of vaping products.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Once again this case sends out a clear message that we won’t tolerate anyone selling vaping products to children under the age of 18.

"In many instances, we work with businesses to ensure they comply with the law and act responsibly.

"However, where necessary, we will not hesitate to prosecute, especially where previous advice is ignored.

"The health of our young people in Lancashire is very important to us.

"Test purchase operations like this are a key part of our plans to protect young people's future health and reduce the burden of smoking on our communities."

It is a criminal offence to sell nicotine inhaling products to anyone under 18.

Nicotine inhaling products include e-cigarettes, cartridges and e-liquids.

Trading standards manager, Angela Lomax, commented: "Lancashire trading standards will continue to undertake test purchasing operations relating to the whole range of products and services that are subject to age restrictions.

"We will take action against those breaking the law."

Anyone wishing to report a shop for selling vapes, e-cigarettes, cigarettes or tobacco to young people under the age of 18 should ring the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.