According to the British media Scottishgrocer reported on September 1, in the ongoing inspection of the Scottish Business Standards Department, one in five retailers sell e-cigarettes to young people under the age of 18. The inspection also found that one out of every eight shops inspected sold e-cigarettes to minors.
David Mackenzie, chairman of Business Standards Scotland, said: “The health of young people is an important priority for business standards departments and smoking poses the greatest threat to their health and development, particularly for young children.
“These results are concerning and we will increase our efforts to advise sellers and continue to take enforcement action to take action against offenders.”
“E-cigarette products can be a useful smoking cessation aid for smokers who want to quit, but they are not lifestyle products aimed at young people.”
“Bright packaging colours and sweet fruit flavours appeal to children, especially because of the availability of disposable e-cigarettes.”
Last year, Scottish Business Standards officers conducted test purchases at 312 shops, and the failure rate of e-cigarettes reached 63, a fairly poor performance in recent years, which the Business Standards team said was due to a lack of enforcement activity over the past two years and the popularity of single-use e-cigarettes.
John Dunn, director general of the UK E-Cigarette Industry Association (UKVIA), said: “These figures highlight what has been going on in the industry for many years: rogue retailers selling e-cigarettes to children, and commercial standards are not strong enough to regulate this problem effectively.
“E-cigarettes are proven to be the best way for smokers to quit and our best chance to defeat the modern epidemic of smoking, which still kills around 250 people a day in the UK alone.”
“Scotland has the highest smoking rates in the UK and while the Scottish government needs to do more to stop rogue retailers selling e-cigarettes to children, they must also support smokers as around half of them will die if they don’t quit.”
Peter Cheema, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation, said: “It is clear that more action is needed and we are willing to work with the Scottish Government to raise public awareness and education levels on an issue that has suffered from neglect.
“We will soon be releasing our Healthier Choices, Healthier Communities campaign, whose clear message is that if you smoke and want to quit, you should use e-cigarettes.”
“This will include calling on manufacturers, retailers, policymakers and law enforcement agencies to take stringent measures to make e-cigarettes significantly less attractive to young people.”
“Both the Scottish Government and business standards must take action when it comes to the illegal trafficking of e-cigarette products, enforce the rules that are in place and support those who act responsibly.”