Vapes Test Purchase

Warning to shopkeepers after Reading Shops Sold Vapes to 15-Year-Old

  • Test purchase exercise by Trading Standards showed underage volunteers were sold vapes 
  • Shop owners provided free training to improve protection for young people

THE COUNCIL has issued a firm reminder to local shopkeepers to always ask for proof of age when selling all nicotine products after a recent test purchase exercise in Reading found four out of five shops selling vapes to volunteers aged 15 and 16 without asking for proof of age.

The Council is warning retailers it will not hesitate to act against any shops found to be selling age-restricted products to underage customers.

The recent test purchasing operation took place in May 2022 and was arranged after the Council’s trading standards team saw a sharp increase in complaints about shops selling vapes to school children. 18 is the legal age of sale.

A number of shop owners have since been on a training course, provided free of charge, to improve protection for young people, focusing on ensuring customers have valid proof of age, enforcing challenge C25, and regularly training staff, but have been warned that further failures mean they could be prosecuted.

Cllr Ruth McEwan Lead Councillor for Corporate and Consumer Services

“These results should serve as a wake-up call to retailers in Reading that they need to be vigilant when selling age-restricted products.

“Protection of young people is a priority for the Council, and we will take appropriate action against shops who cannot be trusted to retail these products responsibly.”

Residents concerned about any sales of products to people under the legal age of sale can report through Citizens Advice, on 0808 223 1133.