IBVTA responds to Public Health Minister’s expected announcement on enforcement
The IBVTA welcomes the expected announcement of a new task force and ring-fenced funding to tackle illegal vape sales.
On Tuesday 11 April, Public Health Minster Neil O’Brien is expected to set out a range of measures aiming to tackle illicit vapes and underage sales. The IBVTA believes that there is a clear association between the sale of illegal vapes and sales to young people. Retailers who do not check the provenance or MHRA notification status of vape products they sell are also unlikely to verify the age of customers in any meaningful way. We are pleased to see that this correlation is recognised by the Minister.
Backed by £3 million of government funding, a new “illicit vapes enforcement squad” led by Trading Standards, will share knowledge and intelligence across regional networks and local authorities. It will undertake specific projects such as test purchasing in convenience stores and vape shops. It will also produce guidance to help build regulatory compliance and will have the power to remove illegal products from shops and at borders.
The IBVTA have for some time called for additional resources to help Trading Standards teams apply more meaningful enforcement to the sale of vape products. We therefore applaud news of this announcement, which could not have come too soon. We also welcome a focus on effective enforcement at the UK’s borders. Both Trading Standards and the legitimate vape trade will benefit from the prevention of illegal products arriving on the UK market in the first place.
IBVTA Chief Executive, Gillian Golden, said “We applaud the Minister’s expected announcement. The IBVTA looks forward to continuing to support enforcement agencies in tackling illicit trade and illegal products. They have, for too long, sullied the reputation of legitimate independent vaping businesses. They have also put a very negative spin on the general public’s understanding of our sector.
Vaping is the most popular, effective, and cost-effective tool smokers use to quit. We welcome the Government’s continued recognition of the important role that reputable UK vape businesses play in driving down smoking rates”.