In a prosecution case brought by Shropshire Council’s trading standards service, in December 2023, Mr Harkamal Dhillon – proprietor of ‘Boozed Up’ in Oswestry – pleaded guilty at Telford Magistrates Court and was fined £600 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1937.62 as well as a £120 Victim Surcharge.
Telford Magistrates heard that in spring 2022, trading standards officers seized 595 oversized vapes from the ‘Boozed Up’ off-licence on Salop Road, Oswestry and advised Mr Dhillon of the need to only sell vapes that fully complied with UK legislation.
However, in early 2023, officers revisited his premises and a further 195 illegal vapes were seized, which led to this prosecution case being brought.
Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulatory services, said: “A large part of the work undertaken by Shropshire Council’s trading standards team involves making sure that our businesses stick to the rules – and unfortunately where a business such as this fails to follow advice given to them, the team will not hesitate to crack down and enforce the law.
“This prosecution represents an important step towards achieving the aims of The Shropshire Plan, by making sure that the health and wellbeing of our communities is supported and protected.”
Under UK legislation, the maximum size of the tank containing nicotine liquid in a disposable vape is two millilitres, this roughly equates to around 600 “puffs”.
The products seized by trading standards were marked as containing 3500, 4000 and 5500 “puffs”.
The vapes found at the shop also failed to contain important information relating to the producer or importer of the item and other necessary labelling.
Frances Darling, head of business and consumer protection with Shropshire Council, added: “The legal controls that govern vapes are quite clear. Before a product can legitimately be sold, it must first be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the law states that the maximum tank size is 2ml.
“We have known for many years that nicotine is highly addictive, and therefore the amount and strength of it in compliant devices is controlled for a reason.
“The products that were seized by Shropshire trading standards had not been registered, were oversized and had no details of a UK representative. Retailers of all kinds have a basic duty to comply with the law and not sell illegal products.
“We will continue to take robust enforcement action against retailers that possess or sell oversized disposable e-cigarettes.”