Recent inspections of King’s Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth retailers have found thousands of illegal e-cigarettes offered for sale in the county. The most recent inspection carried out by the Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team saw 350 disposable e-cigarettes removed from sale from a premises in King’s Lynn just last week (similar to those shown above).

Trading Standards officers found the disposable illegal e-cigarettes offered for sale in Norfolk had contents and packaging that fail to meet strict UK regulations. The products have been found to contain more than twice the legal maximum level of nicotine and three times the maximum volume of liquid permitted, this means the disposable e-cigarettes could cause unexpected harm to consumers.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, said: “Thanks to the swift efforts of the team these products have been removed from sale and the businesses have been warned about selling non-compliant disposable e-cigarettes.

“People are advised to check the strength of the products they are buying, and that they have a UK address on the packaging. To ensure businesses remain within the rules follow-up visits will be planned.”

  • The advice to businesses is to do some simple checks before agreeing to purchase products to sell:
  • Check the strength – the maximum strength is 2% nicotine
  • Check the capacity – the maximum capacity is 2ml
  • Check the warning – it should state ‘…nicotine is a highly addictive substance, not ‘…nicotine is a highly addictive chemical’
  • Check there is a UK address on the product

Norfolk County Council Trading Standards officers have also seen a worrying increase in complaints about the sale of disposable e-cigarettes to under 18’s. Disposable e-cigarettes may be appealing as they look like highlighter pens, are relatively cheap and are available in fruity flavours. The sale of any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes, to people under the age of 18, is against the law in the UK.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, added: “Unfortunately by unscrupulous traders making underage sales these products can cause harm to children in our communities. If consumers wish to report businesses for selling illegal products or selling age restricted products to under-age children they can do so to our partners at Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.”