Thousands of illegal vapes seized by police in Liverpool

The nicotine-filled devices had a combined street value of £22,000.

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More than 1,800 illegal vapes have been seized in Liverpool, just weeks after Merseyside health officials called for a nationwide ban.

The stings, which have been made at eight premises over the last couple of weeks, is the latest part of a crackdown on the sale of counterfeit vaping products. The operation by Liverpool City Council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit, Merseyside Police and Public Health Liverpool, saw £22,000 worth of illegal vapes seized.

Legal requirements restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml, providing a maximum of 600 puffs, and restrict the maximum volume of nicotine-containing e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml. Additionally, e-liquids are restricted to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml.

However, some retailers are ignoring these restrictions, potentially increasing the health risks associated with the nicotine-filled devices.

Professor Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, said it is a fact that vaping products are now ‘the most common aid used by adults in England who want to stop smoking’ but that they are ‘not harmless’ with a range of short-term side-effects. He added: “The long-term effects of vaping are, as yet, unknown. Selling illicit products increases the risk of these and other side effects.

“The public health message is very clear that people should not smoke or vape, and for the protection of those who choose to vape we need to take the necessary action to ensure the products being used comply with regulations.”

Over 1,800 vapes were seized.Over 1,800 vapes were seized.
Over 1,800 vapes were seized.

Councillor Harry Doyle, Cabinet Member for Culture and Public Health added that further operations to tackle the sale of illegal vapes are planned throughout the summer.

Other concerns: Public health officials in Merseyside shared concerns such as ‘1.3 million vapes being thrown away each week in the UK, and poorer quality vaping products readily available on the high street’, the directors say tobacco compaines are purposefully targetting children.

They stated: “We find the attempt to make vapes ‘cool’ amongst children disgraceful. We have no doubt that aggressive marketing and advertising strategies from tobacco companies, like offering a variety of enticing flavourings and colours, are to blame. Why else would vape manufacturers sell flavours named after sweets, if not to target children?

“We are also acutely aware of many companies shamelessly exploiting legal loopholes in order to give away free vapes to children, which is currently not considered to be ‘marketing’. This activity needs to stop, so that our young people can grow up to live longer and healthier lives, protected from harm.”