More Trading Standards Raids

Posted 12th January 2022 by Dave Cross
Trading Standards officers have continued with their pre-Christmas crackdown on illegal vape products and have raided stores across the country. Following their intelligence-led strikes in Walsall, Stockton and Newcastle, officers have made seizures in Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

Vaping products containing e-liquid must conform to regulations set by the Government. Only products approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency are allowed to be sold in stores and online, and cannot contain nicotine levels in excess of 20mg/ml (sometimes referred to as 2% on the packaging).

Liverpool Trading Standards reports that there has been a high volume of complaints made about products containing excessive levels of nicotine. As a result, officers raided shops and found illegal products being sold in 74 of them, with a number being up to six times the legal nicotine limit.

The council has issued the instructions to stores about the health warning that must be on the packaging, its appearance and even the font type.

In addition:

  • e-cigarette tanks should have a capacity of no more than 2ml you’ve spelt millilitres out in full above.
  • refills should be limited to 10ml
  • e-liquids should have a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml
  • packaging and containers should be child-resistant and tamper evident
  • colourings, caffeine and taurine are not allowed
  • contain details of the UK importer for traceability and the European Community Identification (ECID) number showing authentication by MHRA

In Newport, officers confiscated 220 products worth over £2000 from five stores. All of these were branded Geek Bar or Nicotine Puffs.


Middlesbrough Council Trading Standards has just completed a six-week campaign to identify and remove illegal disposables from sale. They also sought out illegal e-liquid refills, tanks over 2ml in capacity, as well as anything lacking the required labelling or warnings.

While some will question whether this is important, the products give some the opportunity to bad mouth vaping and businesses that work tirelessly to reduce the damage done by tobacco. One such person is Judith Hedgley, Head of Public Protection, who told reporters: "We will continue to work with local businesses to protect fair and lawful trading practices, to raise awareness of our concerns over illegal vaping products and advise them on how to avoid buying unsafe goods.

“However, we will take appropriate enforcement action against businesses that fail to carry out appropriate product safety checks and expose their customers to unsafe vape products. We are particularly concerned about products, such as those we have removed from sale, which are clearly aimed at children and young people.”

Fortunately, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston balanced out the viewpoint by supporting vaping as a harm reduction tool: “Stamping out smoking is one of the best things we can do to improve public health, and legal vapes and e-cigarettes have played a major role in that fight in recent years. This is a fantastic operation by Trading Standards that sends out a clear message that retailers have a duty to protect their customers, and especially young people, from harmful products.”

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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