According to a report by UK media outlet Betterretailing on December 19th, the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has recently launched a new initiative urging retailers, consumers, and the public to report outlets that sell e-cigarettes to minors, as well as non-compliant retailers and wholesalers. This campaign, named “Keep Vaping Vigilant,” has received support from trade standards agencies, ACS, and the wider retail industry, with the aim of addressing the issue of youth e-cigarette use.
The “Stay Vigilant on e-cigarette” campaign, according to UKVIA, aims at mobilizing compliant retailers. A new study from compliance firm Arcus Compliance reveals that local law enforcement teams require greater resources in addressing the issues of youth access to e-cigarettes and illegal product sales.
James Lowman, CEO of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), has commented that the sales of e-cigarettes to minors remain excessively high, warranting renewed attention to the issue. Notably, retailers selling e-cigarettes to children are also often found to be selling illegal e-cigarette products. Responsible retailers are eager to witness rigorous enforcement standards, and the introduction of a reporting mechanism through this campaign will aid in identifying irresponsible enterprises, allowing officials from the Traffic Standards Bureau to concentrate their resources on addressing these establishments.
Kate Pike, Chief Officer of the Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), has expressed full support for this campaign, hoping that it will effectively encourage people to report cases where retailers are selling counterfeit or non-compliant e-cigarettes to children. Pike acknowledges that most retailers make efforts to only sell to adults and welcomes any intelligence that can help enforce the law against offenders.
The UKVIA has successfully launched a new online platform where consumers can report retailers and wholesalers suspected of engaging in violations. Users are required to provide the name and location of the store in question, along with detailed information on the alleged illicit activities.
John Dunne, director of UKVIA, added:
Individuals under the age of 18, or those who do not smoke, should not be using these products. It is certain that unscrupulous retailers are placing e-cigarettes in the hands of minors and stocking illegal merchandise, which is completely unacceptable.
He reiterated his hope that consumers, compliant retailers, parents, teachers, and the general public stay vigilant and proactively report any suspicious illegal activities.
The UKVIA also provides a range of downloadable materials for responsible retailers to display in-store, in order to encourage the general public to play a key role in combating illegal retailers and wholesalers. All promotional materials for the “Keep e-cigarette vigilant” campaign include a QR code that links back to an online reporting facility.
Deng En added, “The only way to prevent teenagers from using e-cigarettes is to find the root of the problem – those merchants who intend to break the law and evade accountability. We need as much assistance as possible from those who sincerely earn a living from selling e-cigarettes and from the public who care about the welfare of children.