Selling e-cigarettes and refills? Know the law
South Ayrshire Council has embarked on a campaign to tackle the illegal sale of e-cigarettes and refills to anyone under the age of 18.
As part of the clamp down, the Council's Trading Standards team arranged for a 17 year old volunteer to attempt to purchase e-cigarette refills from premises spread throughout South Ayrshire.
During the operation, a shop in Ayr was caught trying to sell refills to the young volunteer. The premises were issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice, a stern reminder that shops should check for identification if they have any doubts.
Shops really have no excuses as the Council had previously carried out around 170 inspections and advisory visits to local retailers to ensure they complied with the changes in the law.
Retailers were also advised that test purchasing operations would take place following the changes to the legislation.
The changes mean that:
-it's illegal to sell e-cigarettes/refills to anyone under 18
-it's illegal to buy e-cigarettes/refills for someone under 18
-all retailers selling tobacco or e-cigarettes/refills need to be registered
-stores will need to have an age verification policy for sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes/refills i.e. a policy that everyone that appears to be under the age of 25 will be asked to prove their age
-any person under 18 will not be able to sell these products unless authorised to do so.
Existing retailers had a deadline of 30 September 2017 to register their business to sell e-cigarettes and refills, after which time, enforcement action could be taken. Registering your business is free and can be done online at: www.tobaccoregisterscotland.org
Councillor Ian Cochrane, Sustainability and the Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "We are continuing to work with retailers to prevent underage sales and protect the health of young people. I'm delighted the majority of retailers have robust procedures in place and well trained staff."
"However this operation shows that some retailers may need to learn the hard way. The message is clear, if you fail to comply with legislation and are selling to under 18s, you could face a £200 fixed penalty or be reported to the Procurator Fiscal"
If you have information or suspicions of anyone being involved in the supply of underage tobacco or e-cigarettes and refill sales or if you would like advice on compliance please call South Ayrshire Council on 0300 123 0900 and ask for Trading Standards.