A shop owner has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 in fines and court costs after pleading guilty to selling vapes containing nicotine to children.
On Tuesday January 17, 2023, at Bodmin Crown Court, Nigel Parish, owner of Seabreeze Gifts on Fore Street, St Austell, pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying persons under the age of 18 with vapes containing nicotine.
A Devon and Cornwall Police Officer witnessed teenagers purchasing the products on two separate occasions (July 2022 and October 2022). The customers were aged 14 and 13.
The court heard that Parish had previously received a written warning from Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards Team, as well as information about the laws surrounding the sales of vape products and advice on how to ensure sales to children did not take place.
Parish received a fine and was ordered to pay court costs, totalling £3,177.
Councillor Martyn Alvey, Portfolio Holder responsible for Public Protection and Enforcement at Cornwall Council, said: “I urge all businesses to make sure they are aware of and comply with the relevant legislation regarding sales to children.
“Protecting our children’s health and wellbeing is one of our absolute priorities and when businesses fail to adhere to these laws, we will not hesitate to take action against those responsible. I hope this case acts as a warning to others.”
Ruth Goldstein, Public Health Consultant at Cornwall Council, said: “Whilst it can help adults quit smoking, vaping is not for under 18s and should not be used to help children stop smoking. It should also not be used by anyone who doesn’t currently smoke.
“The regulations on the under-age sale of vapes and vaping products are there to protect children, but unfortunately we know many young people are still able to buy vapes from shops. We want to reduce children and young people’s access to vapes and we are grateful for the work our Trading Standards colleagues are doing to raise awareness amongst retailers of the age restrictions in place on the sale of vapes and to take enforcement action when necessary.”
Small to medium sized businesses in Cornwall can access the No Proof of Age-No Sale interactive online toolkit free of charge. It provides any business selling age-restricted products with guidance and resources to ensure that their business is compliant with age-restricted sale laws.
To report a shop selling smoking and vaping products to under-age customers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.