Illegal e-cigarette trade in Newcastle sparks concern and crackdown

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Thousands of illegal e-cigarettes worth over £1 million were seized in a successful operation in Newcastle, UK, linked to organized crime groups.

According to a report by The Northern Echo, the law enforcement department in Newcastle, UK, seized thousands of illegal e-cigarettes worth over £1 million in a highly successful operation believed to be linked to organized criminal gangs. The discovery of this substantial illegal activity has deeply shocked members of the City Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee during their meeting on Thursday.


Although e-cigarettes are considered tools to help adult smokers quit, concerns about the illegal supply of e-cigarettes are growing, especially with the increasing use among children.


During a recent conference, David Ellerington, the Trade Standards Manager, disclosed that the popularity of non-compliant e-cigarette products has been sharply rising since autumn 2021. His team has seized a total of 3.3 tons of non-compliant e-cigarette products, with an estimated value of £1.1 million. This haul is equivalent to approximately 76,000 e-cigarettes and their refilled containers.


Elrington highlighted that previously involved in illegal tobacco supply, organized crime groups have now shifted towards the supply of e-cigarettes, from which some individuals have amassed significant profits. He further noted that school principals have handed over e-cigarette products found in children’s pencil cases to the committee, exacerbating concerns regarding this issue.


To combat this issue, the city of Newcastle has shut down stores selling counterfeit cigarettes and e-cigarettes, some of which were even targeting children as young as 10. The city council emphasizes that they will take measures to address this problem and warns against rogue retailers using clever tactics to conceal illegal items. They call for community collaboration in tackling the issue of e-cigarette abuse.

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