20 December 2023

Warning to shopkeepers as underage sale of vape products ends in court prosecution

Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards has stressed it will not tolerate retailers breaking the law and selling tobacco or nicotine vape products to anyone under the age of 18.

Earlier this year, six shops in Peterhead were visited as part of a test purchase operation for disposable vapes and cigarettes.

Despite the law around sales being very clear, one town centre shopkeeper made no effort to establish the young person’s age – despite the fact that she was only 16 years of age – and he was reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

He was recently convicted at Peterhead Sheriff Court for selling a vape to an underage test purchase volunteer and fined £400. 

While this was the only failure during that particular compliance check, it’s still disappointing to find that there are some shopkeepers who are prepared to flout the law on selling age-restricted products to young people, especially when concerns are mounting about the effects of vaping on young peoples’ health.

Gordon Buchanan, Protective Services Manager at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “The resulting fine alongside the criminal conviction sends a strong message to sellers of vaping products that we will not tolerate them supplying to those who are under the legal age, and we will take action where such illicit activities are identified.”

Trading Standards welcomes any information from members of the public about shops which are selling cigarettes or disposable vapes to young people under 18 years of age and information received will be treated as confidential and will be acted on.

For non-urgent Trading Standards enquiries in Aberdeenshire, please contact the Consumer Advice Scotland website or call them on 0808 164 6000.

For urgent Trading Standards matters, contact Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards at 01467 537222.