Vaping product picture

Preston shop fined for underage e-cigarette sales

The owner of a shop in Preston has been fined after the premises failed two underage test purchases carried out by Lancashire County Council's trading standards team.

Lancaster Magistrates heard that the e-cigarette kiosk at EN Newsagents, on Orchard Street in the city centre, sold an e-liquid to a 15 year old volunteer on 9 August 2021. The same member of staff went on to sell disposable e-cigarettes to a 16 year old volunteer on 19 November 2021.

Gulam Patel, who owns the business, was fined £166 and ordered to pay £275 in costs. The shop assistant, Maqbul Hussain, who sold the products on both occasions, was fined £130 and ordered to pay £275 in costs.

Trading Standards carried out the operations in response to a huge increase in the number of complaints relating to underage sales of vaping products.

It is a criminal offence to sell nicotine inhaling products to anyone under 18. Nicotine inhaling products include e-cigarettes, cartridges and e-liquids.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "This case sends out a clear signal 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. 

"Our Trading Standards team will be continuing with test purchasing to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal obligations. They are also on hand to provide advice and guidance to businesses that need support."

County Councillor Sue Whittam, lead member for health, said: "Test purchasing operations are crucial in helping us clamp down on under age vaping product sales.

"For young people who don't already smoke, vaping can be a gateway to smoking cigarettes, potentially beginning a habit that can be extremely damaging to their health and wellbeing. Some of these devices can also deliver very high levels of nicotine, which is also a concern.

"The low prices, fruity flavours and brightly coloured packaging of many of these products mean they can be very appealing to under-18s, so taking enforcement action like this is crucial so we can limit opportunities for young people to buy them."

Anyone wanting to report underage sales of vaping products can contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133, or report it online at Contact the consumer helpline - Citizens Advice.

Businesses wanting advice about vaping products can also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.


Notes to editors

Retailers can be fined up to £2,500 and it is also an offence to buy e-cigarettes on behalf of someone under 18.