Saturday 13 July 2024
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Nottinghamshire shops selling vapes to underage children to be targeted

Nottinghamshire trading standards teams will be given extra cash to target shops selling age-restricted products like vapes to underage children.

The Conservative-led County Council has approved £90,000 over the next two financial years to tackle the issue with a raft of new measures proposed.

Age-restricted products include vapes, cigarettes and alcohol, with trading teams planning to crack down on illegal sales of these products to minors.

Under the new measures, approved this week, trading standards officers will be trained to advise businesses and will pull together a ‘top 10’ list of the most-reported shops.

It will form part of an “intelligence gathering” exercise to find the shops and areas with the most complaints so visits can be conducted.

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Advice packs on age-restricted products will be drawn up and handed to businesses and shop owners on visits.

Any complaints will be closely monitored to ensure shops aren’t illegally selling the products and, if a business is found selling to underage children, they will be invited in for an interview.

The authority could also consider taking action either through licensing restrictions or prosecution.

A council report said: “It is hoped that the work on Age Restricted Products will become embedded as part of trading standards work going forwards.

“The project will have a significant effect on public health outcomes as it will aim to reduce the selling of alcohol, tobacco and vapes to minors by targeting the businesses that are selling these products.

“As a result, this will reduce the accessibility of these products and prevent the associated detrimental health impacts.

“It will also ensure that the wider e-cigarettes market is compliant with UK legislation.”

The cash was approved by the council’s corporate director for adult social care and health this week.

It comes as the authority looks to strengthen control over tobacco use to improve the health of the county’s population.

Jonathan Gribbin, the county’s director for public health, says smoking is one of the “largest causes of health inequalities across Nottinghamshire”.

E-cigarettes are being used as a tool to help people quit tobacco products, with health bosses saying they are “twice as effective, and one-fifth the price”.

However, the authority says the increased popularity of vapes has led to higher numbers of products being sold to underage children and being found in schools.

The issue was discussed in the council’s adult social care and public health committee last week (December 12).

In the meeting, Councillor Reg Adair (Con), who represents Leake and Ruddington, said: “What I’m worried about now – and I see a lot of it and I get a lot of comments on it – is vaping.

“You can see young people standing outside schools vaping and I don’t know how that can be a good thing for the future. It needs addressing.”

Currently, about 14 per cent of adults in Nottinghamshire smoke – slightly above the England average of 13.9 per cent.

However, the county council says it wants to bring this figure down to zero and create a ‘smoke-free generation’ by 2040.

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