Source: BBC News
Nearly half a million e-cigarettes that do not comply with UK law have been seized by officials in Kent within 18 months from 2022.
At the port of Dover, 13,000 devices with nine times the legal amount of nicotine liquid were seized in a week.
Trading standards officers carrying out spot checks said children as young as 10 are reportedly being sold vapes.
The body representing the industry is calling for more enforcement and bigger fines for retailers who sell to minors.
UK law limits the amount of liquid nicotine in a vape to 2ml, which the industry markets as “600 puffs”.
Some illegal products can offer up to “10,000 puffs”, with 10 times the legal limit of liquid.
Vapes can only be sold to people over the age of 18.
Kent County Council trading standards officer Oliver Jewell said: “Some of the reports we’ve received talk about children as young as 10 [buying vapes], but we’ve also had reports of parents buying vaping products for children even younger than that.”
Julian Spinks, a GP in Medway, said: “What we’re seeing is more and more young people and children taking up vaping.
“It’s producing the next generation of nicotine addicts.
“We really don’t know the long-term safety of vaping, so there’s a big danger we’ll end up with people suffering a disease we weren’t expecting.”
‘Tackling underage sales’
John Dunne, director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association, backed tougher enforcement on retailers.
“We want to see a minimum £10,000 fine for anybody selling vape products to minors. We also want to see vape retailers licensed,” he said.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are taking bold action to end this practice through the £3m Illicit Vapes Enforcement Squad, which will tackle products imported and traded illicitly, remove illegal products from the market that don’t comply with our regulations, and tackle underage sales to children.”