…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
Over 1,000 illegal vaping devices, including vape pens with a tank size well over eight times the legal limit, have been seized from a shop in Notting Hill by the Kensington and Chelsea council.
The council is warning of the “growing risk” of illegal vapes being purchased by teenagers who are often unaware that they are buying fakes, with some vape pens having a tank size of 16ml.
During the raid, officers also discovered 27 unsafe travel adaptors, nine pouches of oral tobacco and 62 packets of shisha tobacco.
The council is investigating the unnamed business selling the products, and “appropriate formal action will be taken to ensure unsafe products are not sold by this trader in future.”
Councillor Josh Rendall stated that “It is becoming a growing trend amongst young people who are unaware that they are buying fakes and the risks it carries with it… We encourage residents to report any concerns about any suspected illegal products to our trading standards team.”
Since 2022, over 4,000 illegal vapes worth £30,000 have been seized in Kensington and Chelsea, and the council will be carrying out test purchases in the borough over the coming months to crackdown on retailers selling to anyone under the legal age of 18.
In the UK, it is illegal to sell cigarettes or vapes with nicotine to anyone under the age of 18, and businesses can be prosecuted if they are caught.
Vapes are considered illegal in the UK if they have not been approved by the medicines and healthcare products regulator, the MHRA.
Retailers could also be caught if they sell vapes from brands that have not been approved, despite containing the legal tank size, nicotine level and recommended puffs.
Vaping is considered a public health issue that has gained attention in recent years.
The emergence of new vaping products and accessories, including large tank sizes, are often cited as posing risks to public health.
The seizure of these illegal devices, and the announcement by London councils to crack down on shops selling colourful vapes to children, is an attempt to combat these risks.