CHILDREN are being sold vapes that secretly contain nicotine despite strict rules against it, Labour has warned.
The Government is under fire for not doing enough to tackle the rising number of children who are hooked on vapes, with new figures showing illegal vape sales are rife across the country.
Ministers revealed in an answer to a written parliamentary question tabled by Labour that 50 per cent of UK councils reported instances of cigarettes or tobacco products being sold to minors.
And that when tests were done to see if stores would sell vapes illegally last year, more than 25 per cent of the time they did sell them when they shouldn’t have.
Current regulations allow retailers to sell so-called “nicotine-free” vapes to under-18s and even distribute free samples, irrespective of age.
But a study conducted by Inter Scientific blew the lid off these claims, revealing that a significant 35 per cent of e-cigarettes, marketed as “0 per cent nicotine,” actually contain nicotine.
READ MORE ON VAPING
According to Labour analysis, since 2021, the number of habitual young e-cig users has trebled, with nearly 140,000 more children vaping regularly.
Shadow Health Minister Preet Kaur Gill said: “The Tories have been asleep at the wheel on addressing youth vaping.
“Under this Government, the vaping industry is marketing vapes to kids, and a whole new generation are becoming addicted to nicotine before they hit puberty.
“It’s appalling that since rejecting Labour’s amendment to crack down on marketing vapes to kids two years ago, the number of children vaping regularly has trebled.”
Most read in News
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The Government is taking action to tackle youth vaping, and the health advice is clear: if you don’t smoke, don’t vape and children should never vape.
“We have already consulted on ways to reduce the appeal and availability of vapes to children and young people, and the upcoming Tobacco and Vapes Bill will introduce the first smokefree generation and tackle the issue of youth vaping, saving lives and protecting our children.
“We are also increasing investment for our enforcement agencies by £30 million per year, alongside £3 million over 2 years to Trading Standards to tackle illegal and underage vape sales.”