Vaping products can be targeted at children

Shop assistant fined £900 for selling disposable e-cigarette to a child

A Preston shop assistant has been ordered to pay fines and costs after failing an underage shopper test sting by Trading Standards officers.

Faeem Aziz, 46, sold a strawberry flavoured e-cigarette, known as a vape, to a 15-year-old without challenging their age or asking them to provide any form of ID on April 14, 2023 at a shop on Orchard Street in Preston.

The sale of vapes is prohibited to anyone under the age of 18 years.

When interviewed, Aziz, of St Barnabas Place in Preston, admitted making the sale, saying that the shop was busy, so he had only made a quick visual assessment of the buyer. He admitted making a similar sale during a test purchase in 2022, which he also blamed on the shop being busy at the time.

Speaking after the hearing at Lancaster Magistrates, Lancashire County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing said: "Children should not be able to buy products containing nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance.

"We regularly carry out test purchases at shops selling vapes and will prosecute anyone caught flouting the law.

"This case involves the seller. The business or business owner can also be prosecuted for the same sale in certain circumstances.

"Responsible businesses will undertake Challenge 25 checks, requesting identification for anyone appearing to be under 25 years of age and refusing sales to people who can't provide valid identification."

Anyone wishing to report sales of vapes to young people can do so by contacting the Citizens Advice helpline on 0808 223 1133.