Clampdown continues on sale of underage vapes by Hampshire Trading Standards

A Hampshire County Council Trading Standards operation has found two shops in the Aldershot and Havant area selling vapes illegally to underage buyers

Dec 21 2023

The test purchase operations took place on Monday 18 and Wednesday 20 December 2023, with visits to 17 different premises with teenage volunteers helping officers by going into the businesses to attempt to buy a vape, also known as an e-cigarette.

These items should only be sold to someone over 18.

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, the County Council’s Cabinet lead for Regulatory Services which includes Trading Standards, said: “The rise of vaping by young people is a real worry for parents, so we are ramping up our activities to crack down on the illegal sale of vapes to under 18s. Our Trading Standards team has already provided retailers with guidance on what checks to make to ensure they don’t sell to anyone underage. I’m pleased that this follow-up operation has found that most retailers are following the law and did not sell to our volunteers. In the small number of cases where a sale was made, the circumstances are now under investigation which could lead to prosecution. This is just one of the ways we are working to protect consumers from illegal activity. Since September 2023, Trading Standards has also prevented the sale of over £200,000 of illegal vapes and e-cigarettes by removing them from shops across Hampshire.”

Trading Standards continue to regularly visit businesses to ensure that retailers are complying with the law and that the correct measures are in place to prevent underage sales of vapes and other age restricted products. If a business is found to be selling to people under the legal age, they will be investigated which could lead to a criminal prosecution.   

A recent survey across secondary schools and colleges in Hampshire shows a large increase in the percentage of young people both experimenting with, and using vapes. The survey shows that experimentation with vapes increases from 4% in year 7 to 53% in year 13. Similarly, vape use increases from 7% in year 10, to 18% in year 13.

Anyone needing to report information concerning underage or illicit sales of cigarettes and vapes can contact Hampshire Trading Standards directly.

More information about Hampshire County Council Trading Standards can be found by visiting: