Vaping News

Vape Crimes

A combination of people feeling the pinch and the growth in vaping has led to continued ecig-related crime.

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From dodgy juice ripping off famous trademarks to the actual sale of products to children, enforcement officers have seen it on both sides of the Atlantic. Legitimate vendors in Britain and the States, spurning such underhand products or methods, have found themselves targeted because of their success.

We are covering an increasing number of vape crime stories on POTV. Traders like Barry Gottlieb, who feel that they can sell to whoever they like, regardless of age, as long as they earn a crust from it. Vendors like those on Merseyside who had illegal juice confiscated by Trading Standards.

Eddie Connor, a Knowsley councilor, said at the time: "I'm pleased that our Trading Standards team have investigated and removed these potentially harmful products from sale in Knowsley. The safety of customers is always our highest priority and I'm concerned that young children could be attracted to these products because of their appearance.”

Child safety lay behind the investigation carried out by KSNW, a news station in Wichita, Kansas. They carried out a similar sting operation last year, using undercover and underage customers, and discovered many flouted the regulations.

This year KSNW discovered a much-improved situation. Only one vape store (from 10) failed to ask for ID when selling a device. Given that ID is required for everybody under the age of 27, and that the store assistant made a mistake that the shop owner admitted ran against store policy, it wasn’t a great transgression.

Unfortunately, vape stores have become targets for more than sting operations by news organisations and Trading Standards. There has been a depressing growth in the number of shops being broken into and robbed. We have covered many stories but it is sad when it happens to a company who have fought so hard for the right to vape.

Totally Wicked were at the vanguard when it came to challenging Article 20 of Europe’s Tobacco Products Directive. Tens of thousands of pounds went into a legal campaign, which had the sole intention of preserving the vaper’s right to make an informed choice.

Last week, the Totally Wicked store in Athenaeum Street, Sunderland, was broken into. The criminals weren’t satisfied with lifting over £15,000 worth of vape stock; they left a trail of damage in their wake. To make matters worse, this isn’t the first time.

“They haven’t caused as much damage to the shop as last time, but I would say about the same amount has been taken,” said Matt Wallace, the shop manager. “The haven’t caused as much damage to the shop as last time. I think it has been a case of get in and grab as much as they could before making off.”

Totally Wicked are offering £5,000 for information that leads to the successful prosecution of the people responsible.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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