Hundreds of illegal oversized vapes – including a brightly coloured product shaped like a children’s toy – have been seized in County Durham.
Durham County Council trading standards officers visited three shops in the county after receiving intelligence from the public.
Their operation resulted in 326 vapes being seized for having tanks with a capacity exceeding the 2ml legal limit.
Among them was a bright pink vape manufactured to look like a children’s milkshake – despite containing highly addictive nicotine and its tank being ten times the legal size.
Cllr John Shuttleworth, cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety, said: “Retailers must make sure the products they sell comply with UK regulations.
“All of the vapes seized in this operation had oversized tanks and none of them had been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
“We encourage all retailers to ensure they only source such products from a reputable supplier.
“It was particularly concerning to find a pink toy-shaped vape branded as a strawberry ice cream ‘Twister Bar’ and with a cartoon illustration on the side.
“It’s made to look appealing to children yet it contains nicotine and has a tank capacity of 20ml, which works out at about 7,000 puffs. That’s ten times the legal limit.
“It’s the first time we’ve come across this particular product in County Durham and we’re keen to make parents and carers aware that these products are out there.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle the issue and remove illegal products from the marketplace when we find them.
“Retailers must also act responsibly by making sure the products they sell comply with UK regulations and training their staff to prevent underage sales.”
UK law bans the sale of nicotine products to under 18s and limits how much nicotine and e-liquid can be contained in disposable vapes.
Since March last year, Durham County Council’s trading standards officers have seized almost 5,500 illegal vapes worth an estimated £66,000.