Most retailers who sold electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) to underage customers in previous test purchases are now fully compliant with the law, according to a new report from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). 

The findings, published by CTSI, looks at business compliance with the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale & Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015, introduced last October. The report is a follow-up of an initial review of businesses compliance carried out at earlier this year. Each business that made an illegal sale during the first review was revisited and re-tested.

According to the report, 80% of those businesses did not sell when tested again, of which 90% asked for proof of age. There was an overall non-compliance rate of 25%. The illegal sale rate of tobacco to young people under 18 is 10%.

Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive, said: “Although this review was conducted as a result of the disappointing level of compliance found in the first phase of compliance monitoring, it is encouraging to see a significant improvement with the businesses that previously failed. This is a positive step in the right direction and shows that with the right guidance and support, businesses can demonstrate good practice when selling age restricted products.” 

Nicola Blackwood, public health minister, said: “It is really encouraging to see Trading Standards working closely with businesses to ensure nicotine inhaling products are not sold to people under 18. We all agree children should not have access to these products, and this work supports our view that they should only be used by smokers to quit smoking for good.” 

A total of 260 follow-up visits and tests were conducted between July and September 2016 with a majority of those carried out at specialist e-cigarette businesses, convenience stores and independent newsagents.