Fife Council’s Trading Standards Team recently took part in a comprehensive examination of the market in Scotland for single use, or disposable, vaping products. The study, carried out between October and December 2021 found a wide range of non-compliant devices carrying health and safety risks.
The project involved most of Scotland’s local authority Trading Standards services and was coordinated by The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS). It was influenced by press reports and information from Trading Standards throughout the UK that illegal single use nicotine vaping products (NVPs) were on sale at retailers across the country and a suggestion that these devices were being used by young people under the age of 18.
Trading Standards teams throughout Scotland visited 721 premises during the project, mostly retailers but also some wholesalers. In total, 88,839 disposable vaping devices were removed from sale as they were either not labelled correctly in accordance with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, did not contain sufficient Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation information or had not been published by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Agency. In addition, 3683 disposable vaping devices were seized as they had a capacity of over the legal limit of 2ml.
Environmental concerns were also highlighted around the waste battery aspect of the devices, millions of which are imported every year, mostly from China. And health concerns about the attractive nature of these devices, which are often brightly coloured and made to be appealing to children.
Dawn Adamson, Fife Council Trading Standards’ Manager, said “Issues relating to vaping products are becoming an increasing concern locally and nationally, so it was important for us to be involved in this initiative. For our part, our team carried out 21 visits to Fife premises and worryingly we had to remove 724 items from sale for various reasons and seize 233 products, which really highlights the extent of the problem.”
Graeme Paton, Chair of SCOTSS explained “Trading Standards teams across Scotland treat the sale of nicotine vaping products as a high priority, especially where children are concerned, and the rapid expansion of this market for disposable nicotine devices is worrying and presents real risks to the environment and health, especially the health of young people. “
He continued: “SCOTSS works very closely with Scottish Government colleagues around the regulation of nicotine vaping devices in Scotland and we will be highlighting these risks so that appropriate action can be taken.”
Sheila Duffy, CEO of ASH (Scotland) added “Trading Standards Officers in Scotland have done an excellent piece of work here in highlighting these issues. While some people use vaping to quit smoking, there is a real risk that these products can attract young people into experimentation and addiction. The current craze with disposable, brightly coloured and flavoured e-cigarettes can be child appealing and that is unacceptable.”