England: Tougher age checks for vapes in convenience stores

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), which organises convenience stores, petrol stations and similar in the UK, is taking action to tackle the increasing use of e-cigarettes by minors. Convenience Stores Sweden News reports.

Since the British government decided to increase efforts To encourage smokers to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, interest in the market has increased significantly. Vaping is already popular in the UK and according to the authorities the technology has potential to reduce smoking in the country to less than 5 per cent by 2030. Recently, the government launched a 'swap-to-stop' programme whereby one million smokers will be given the opportunity to try e-cigarettes - free of charge.

Increased availability of e-cigs

At the same time, debate rages on about the increasing use of e-cigarettes among young people. At the centre is the availability of the latest addition to the vejp market: disposable models. In the past, e-cigarettes were primarily sold in specialist shops, but today, even in Sweden, disposable vapes can be bought in every other convenience store and petrol station. Access has thus increased dramatically and interest among young people to test products is increasing at the same rate. This places ever greater demands on retailers, says ACS's CEO. James Lowan i Convenience Stores Sweden News.

"We welcome the government's commitment to reducing smoking through innovative methods. We are also very positive that they recognise the need for a properly functioning vaping market. Only adults should be able to buy these products," he said.

Training shopkeepers

In the context of the "swap-to-stop" project, ACS is now launching a promotional campaign to educate members about e-cigarettes. It urges shops to treat e-cigarettes in the same way as cigarettes, with anyone who looks under 25 having to provide identification to buy the products.

It also aims to ensure that retailers can distinguish legal products from illegal variants. Disposable vapes with too high nicotine strengths, too large a capacity (technically more than 600 puffs) and inaccurate warnings abound on the black market and sometimes find their way into shops via different vendors.

"More focus on enforcement, backed up by more resources at the local level, is the right way to go. Only legal products should reach retailers and consumers," said James Lowan of Convenience Stores Sweden News.

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