Electronic Cigarettes and Tobacco: Sales

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 2 April 2024.

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Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if a Minister from her Department will visit Darlington to hold discussions with (a) the Police and (b) Trading Standards on the joint steps they are taking to help tackle the sale of illegal vapes and illicit tobacco.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Ministers in the department are always happy to consider meetings and visits to understand the impact of their policy areas, and we recommend reaching out to Ministers’ offices directly.

A strong approach to enforcement is vital if the smokefree generation policy is to have real impact. My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care recently visited a cargo warehouse at Heathrow Airport with Hillingdon Trading Standards to see first-hand the work they are doing to seize illicit vapes at the border, and prevent these products from being sold in the United Kingdom.

Underage and illicit sales of tobacco products, and more recently vaping products, is undermining the work the Government is doing to regulate the industry and protect public health. It also deprives the UK of vital money that could be used to fund essential public services, instead, putting it in the hands of criminals.

This is why alongside the measures in the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, we are supporting enforcement agencies with up to £30 million a year, to scale up their existing activities. This increased investment will help to stamp out criminal activity by boosting enforcement capacity, and help local trading standards tackle underage sales at a local level. Of this funding, over £100 million over five years will support HM Revenue and Custom’s and Border Force’s new illicit tobacco strategy. As is the case with existing age of sale legislation, breaches of the new law will primarily be dealt with by local authority trading standards, rather than by local police forces.

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