According to the Reading Chronicle, enforcement officers from the Reading City Council in the UK have employed “test purchasers” to expose the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors at music festivals. Under UK law, selling e-cigarettes containing nicotine to individuals under the age of 18 is prohibited.
During the law enforcement operation, a vendor at the music festival was found selling e-cigarettes to minors. The Commercial Standards Office of Reading City Council promptly took action by instructing the market manager of the festival to expel the vendor and deny them re-entry.
Following this, the Reading City Council issued a warning letter to the vendor and notified the local authorities, stating that there have been two instances of illegal sales of e-cigarettes to minors.
Reading Borough Council staff cited this as an example of the use of covert tactics, detailing enforcement specifics in a report submitted to the Council Policy Committee. The report was presented during a meeting on October 30 by the Reading Borough Council.
Michael Graham, the Law and Democracy Services Assistant Director for the city council, stated
Appropriate policies and procedures actually assist those with law enforcement authority, thereby generating a positive impact.
The Reading City Council allows for the use of covert surveillance methods, which include council officials monitoring individuals in a discreet manner, as well as employing trained test purchasers who can be either adults or young individuals under the age of 18.