Shopkeepers could face fines of thousands of pounds, under new laws to be introduced this autumn, if they sell e-cigarettes to anybody aged under 18.
Croydon’s trading standards team, however, is reminding traders that its free Do you pass? training scheme can ensure that they and their staff are fully aware of the rules for the sale of age-restricted products, and what they can do to protect themselves and their business.
The new age restriction, coming into force on 1 October, will extend to all nicotine inhaling products (nips) and their component parts, such as replacement cartridges or refills containing nicotine.
The new laws also make a criminal offence the act of proxy purchasing – in which an adult buys tobacco or any nips product on behalf of a youngster under 18 years of age. Any adult caught making a proxy purchase will face a fixed penalty notice fine of £90.
As well as being prosecuted and fined, there could be further financial impacts on repeat offenders. They might also face either a Restricted Sales Order or a Restricted Premises Order, preventing them selling nips or tobacco for up to a year.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“This is an area in which unsuspecting traders – particularly small, independent businesses – could, without the appropriate training, easily fall foul of the law.
“They should bear in mind the fact that our trading standards team carries out regular test-purchasing operations, and anybody caught flouting the law could find themselves in court and thousands of pounds the poorer.
“I’d strongly recommend any small Croydon business to take advantage of the free Do you pass? business training we offer. It focuses on the prevention of illegal underage sales with emphasis on the requirements of the law, diligence and proxy sales.”