Officers from Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards service have seized 2,165 disposable e-cigarettes being sold illegally at shops in the county.
The illegal sales have been going on since last November, the service says.
“The e-cigarettes, which did not show the correct labelling and health warnings, were seized from shops in Dursley, Stroud, Gloucester and Cheltenham,” said a spokesperson.
“Many businesses have lost thousands of pounds through the seizures of non-compliant vapes as owners do not have sufficient paperwork to identify the suppliers and reclaim the money.
“It comes after trading standards seized 1,500 illegal e-cigarettes from shops in Cheltenham and Gloucester in October last year.
“Business owners are being urged to show vigilance when buying vapes to ensure they buy from a reliable source and get a proper invoice for the purchase.
“The maximum permitted tank size on a disposable vape is 2ml, which is roughly equivalent to about 600 vapes. Any that claim to be higher, such as those offering 1,500 puffs or more, are likely to be illegal.
“Guidance issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shows information which should appear on packaging, which includes a list of ingredients in nicotine-containing liquid, an indication of nicotine content and batch number.
“It should also display a recommendation to keep out of the reach of children, a prominent health warning on the front and back saying ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’ and contact details of the producer.”
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for trading standards, said: “Customers need to know that products available for sale are legal and safe, so they can use them with confidence. Those which are not are potentially harmful and will hit businesses financially if they choose to stock them.
“If businesses show caution and buy from a proper source, rather than from someone who does not give them a receipt, they won’t be left out of pocket when these items are seized by trading standards.”
Anyone with information about the sale of illegal, disposable e-cigarettes or anyone looking for advice for their business can contact trading standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service or by calling 0808 223 1133.