The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) has revealed a UK-wide initiative to identify and report rogue traders who are suspected of selling vapes to minors or stocking illicit goods.

Supported by Trading Standards, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the wider retail sector, the campaign has been created to mobilise legitimate retailers and the general public to play a key role in turning in those retail outlets and wholesale operations that are blatantly selling vapes to under 18-year-olds, which is illegal, or supplying potentially highly dangerous illicit vapes.

The campaign will encourage members of the public to report suspected unscrupulous retailers on When making a report, website users will be required to provide a detailed account of the suspected illegal activity, including the retailer’s name and location. The UKVIA will then pass the information on to the relevant authorities who will use the intelligence in their ongoing efforts to crackdown on rogue traders.

As part of the initiative, the UKVIA is providing a range of downloadable materials which responsible retailers can display in-store to encourage the general public to play a key role in bringing cowboy retailers and wholesalers to justice. All Be Vape Vigilant campaign promotions include a QR Code linking back to the online reporting facility.

Kate Pike, lead officer for vaping, said: “Trading Standards fully support the campaign and hope it will be effective in encouraging people to report instances of retailers selling to children or vapes that are either counterfeits or non-compliant with UK regulations. Most retailers work hard to ensure they only sell to adults, so any intelligence, which enables us to target enforcement at those who are breaking the law, is very much welcomed”.

John Dunne, director general of the UKVIA, added: “Smoking causes 250 deaths every day in the UK alone and costs the NHS billions every year. Vaping is one of the most effective stop smoking tools ever devised and has been instrumental in bringing the nation’s smoking rates down to their lowest levels on record.

“That said, no one under the age of 18 – or who does not already smoke – should be using these products and it is wholly unacceptable that unscrupulous retailers are putting vapes in the hands of minors and stocking illicit goods.

“This campaign is designed to help Trading Standards uphold existing laws around product compliance and the prevention of underage access to vapes. We want consumers, legitimate retailers, parents, carers, teachers and the wider general public to be vape vigilant, come forward and report any suspected illegal activity. The only way to stop youth vaping in its tracks is by getting to the root of the problem – those traders who are intent on breaking the law and getting away with it. We need as much help as possible from those who want to make an honest living from selling vapes and the general public who care about the welfare of their children.”

James Lowman of ACS said: “Convenience stores have a proud record of responsible retailing and we have made Challenge25 the standard across all age-restricted products with excellent results.

“However, underage sales of vaping products remain too high and we need to re-focus on preventing these, and retailers who sell to children are also often selling illegal vaping products. Responsible retailers want to see high standards enforced and the reporting protocols in this campaign will help identify irresponsible businesses and allow Trading Standards officers to focus their resources on them.”

In addition to the new Be Vape Vigilant platform, the UKVIA continues to advocate for stronger enforcement of existing laws that prohibit the sale of vapes to under-18s, including on-the-spot fines up to £10,000 and licensing of shops selling vapes.