UK retailers 'defying age restrictions on e-cigarettes'

Medical Government/ NHS related news

UK retailers are not doing enough to enforce the age limit when it comes to the sale of e-cigarettes.

This is according a report on youth access to e-cigarettes and associated products released this week at the Trading Standards Institute's annual conference, which details the findings of a recent test-purchasing study.

“Some retailers are currently ignoring age of sale warnings on e-cigarettes, according to a new government investigation.“

Of 574 visits to retail outlets made by young people in March 2014, successful purchases were made on 227 occasions. The highest proportion of purchases to visits made was from market stalls (80 percent), followed by independent pharmacies at 74 percent.

Although there is currently no legal restriction in place on the age at which e-cigarettes may be purchased, the majority carry a voluntary age warning indicating they are not for sale to under-18s.

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: "This study shows that the government and regulatory authorities need to work closely with retailers in advance of any regulations to ensure that retailers are aware of their legal responsibilities."

It is estimated that there are around 2.1 million users of e-cigarettes in Britain, though debate continues to take place around how harmful to health they may be.

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