Independent retailers back government’s crackdown on vape marketing
The government announcement that it will crackdown on vape marketing to children has been welcomed.
A loophole which allows retailers to give free vapes to children is set to be closed under plans by the UK Government to curb their use among children.
Describing the targeting of children and young people as “unacceptable”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said there would also be a review into the rules around the sale of ‘nicotine-free’ products to those under 18 years of age.
The Fed’s National President, Jason Birks said the organisation was backing this review, however he added that trading standards need “greater financial support” if it is to “successfully stamp out the illicit vape and tobacco market”.
“Fed members are responsible retailers who abide by the law governing sales of any age-restricted products but, unfortunately, we know that there are rogue shopkeepers who will sell vape products to under 18s,” said Mr Birks.
“As a result, the Fed supports the government’s proposals to close the loophole which allows retailers to give free vapes to children legally. We also support the government’s review into selling ‘nicotine-free’ vapes to under-18s as retailers should be discouraged from encouraging children from taking up smoking and vaping.
“However, while we are supportive of the government’s stance to tackle the vaping epidemic among youngsters, we firmly believe that the regulatory authorities need greater support if they are to meaningfully counter the illicit trade.
“The Khan Review in 2022 recommended that trading standards receive an increase of £15 million in funding to tackle the illicit vape and tobacco trade. Since then, the government has only increased funding by £3 million. This is simply not enough.
“The Fed asks that the government properly fund the appropriate regulatory bodies to counter the illicit markets for tobacco and vapes. We also ask that the government increases the powers of these enforcement agencies to issue on-the-spot fines whilst increasing the maximum fine amount.
“We hope these actions will better aid trading standards in cracking down on the illicit market and reduce the levels of vaping amongst the youth, and in turn assure consumers that retailers are trading appropriately.”