The investigation has found that several shops in England are selling vaping products to teenagers. England has banned the sale of e-cigarettes to children under 18. But despite the ban, 40% of the shops are illegally selling these products to the children.
Sale of e-cigarettes to teenagers is banned in England
According to the results of a shocking investigation, last year 90 out of 227 shops in England have sold their goods to underage children without even asking for an ID. Over half of the recorded illegal sales were of the vaping products at e-cigarette shops.
On the contrary, among the remaining illegal sales 11 were at discount stores, and 8 at markets and car-boot sales. These results show a huge jump from 2017 – 2018. Where the proportion of shops selling goods to under 18 was 28%.
The regulator was looking at shops within 34 councils in the UK. And had made a call for more funding while trying to crack down on the practice. Georgia, 17 years old, has revealed that retailers were selling vaping products to her without asking for proof of her age.
Moreover, she was also receiving free tutorials. Georgia was using these vaping products for more than a year. She told that once the seller asked her to show ID but permitted her to continue the purchase when she said she has forgotten it. Now, Georgia believes that her lungs have suffered from damage as a result of vaping and this has led to daily pain.
In an interview with Victoria Derbyshire at BBC, Georgia has further shared her experience. She told that when she visited the hospital, doctors took her blood. And after examination, they told her that there was too much liquid in her lungs. They prescribed some tablets for two weeks. But still, she is getting the pain daily.
Need to regulate the online purchase of e-cigarettes
Public Health England has stated that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. The reason behind this is that vaping products have less harmful chemicals than conventional cigarettes. The traditional cigarettes burn tobacco and produce tar. While the e-cigarettes permit users to inhale nicotine in vapor form instead of breathing in smoke.
But in the US, a series of deaths due to lung disease linked with vaping has sparked fears over their safe use. Over 450 people have been hospitalized, while 20 have died due to illness. Parents have also criticized the lack of checks to stop children from the online purchase of vaping products.
13 years old children are capable of buying unregulated e-cigarettes from eBay without showing any proof of age. A mother has told the BBC that she felt anger towards the retailer who sold her son a vape product on the online marketplace.
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She added that she thinks there were probably some terms and conditions while her son signed up for opening his e-bay account. But it probably included nothing more than a tick box. eBay said that all sellers need to have a verification process for age to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to youngsters.
It has also claimed to permanently suspend any sellers who didn’t comply with this. Leon Livermore is the chief executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. He told BBC that it can only take this much step with the current level of resources. And if the govt. wants to effectively deliver its policies, the government needs to provide suitable funding and resources.