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Teen Access Needs To Be Addressed

High street shops need to stand up and be counted when tackling u18s’ access to vaping, according to age verification experts

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High street shops need to stand up and be counted when tackling u18s’ access to vaping, according to age verification experts. 1account says the vast majority of children and young people illegally buying disposable vapes are doing so in physical bricks and mortar stores rather than online.
  • Vape purchase “market test” suggests online age verification effective at preventing sales of disposables to minors compared to physical stores
  • Government should focus efforts to combat youth access to vapes on high street

The statements arose from research carried out by a leading provider of age verification solutions which is calling on the government to focus on the high street when it comes to combatting underage vape sales.

A recent report underlined that rising numbers of children and young people were purchasing vape goods, especially the popular disposable devices.

Age and identity verification service provider 1account has revealed the results of a disposable vape “market test” conducted in partnership with one of the UK’s largest online vape retailers,

This found that, of the total number of consumers who failed to verify their age online prior to purchase, 70% were attempting to purchase disposable vapes exclusively, while of those who passed online age verification, only 40% bought disposables.

In contrast, a report by ASH revealed sales of vapes to under 18-year-olds were as high as 46.5% in high street stores compared to just 10% online.

Ben Keirle, founder and CEO of 1account, said this highlights that the main problem lies with physical stores.

Ben added: “The ASH statistics confirm what we already suspected that disposables are increasingly popular among young people,” he said. “However, our own figures prove the efficacy of online age verification in preventing against these products falling into the wrong hands as every sale goes through a robust age verification process.

“The 10% of minors managing to buy online are almost certainly buying from sites who do not have age verification implemented and, from what we’ve seen, it is those sites that have a higher propensity to also sell illegal capacity disposable vapes.”

The results of 1account’s market test follows an independent review into tobacco control, commonly referred to as Khan Review. Commissioned by the government to help shape its Smokefree 2030 strategy, the review highlights the pivotal contribution vaping can make to achieve this ambition.

However, the report also highlights increasing concerns around child access to vaping, recommending more research should be commissioned into how young people access vaping products online, going as far as saying that a ban on online vape sales should be considered in the future.

Keirle, who is also a member of the Youth Access Prevention Committee run by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), commented: “From our standpoint, the vape industry's adoption of online age verification is comparable to the gambling industry which has 100% of licensed operators using verification.

“Our platform alone is used by around 40% of the UK online vape retailers and the vaping trade bodies, including the IBVTA and UKVIA, both mandate that age verification by vape retailers is a condition of membership.

“Compared to the alcohol sector where online verification at the point of sale is still very much in its infancy, the vape industry is a good example of responsible retailing when it comes to e-commerce operations.”

He concluded: “Our own insights, backed up by the ASH study, suggest that preventing the sale of age-restricted products over the counter (OTC) in physical retail outlets is the biggest issue which, if dealt with, would see far fewer minors purchasing vape products altogether and this is where the government needs to focus its attention.”


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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