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High levels of illegal e-cig sales at independent pharmacies

Over half of 15 independent pharmacies surveyed by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) illegally sold e-cigarettes to under-18s, a report has found.

The report, published this week (August 9) concluded that “high levels” of illegal e-cigarette sales were found among independent pharmacies, where 53% of attempted purchases resulted in an illegal sale.

Out of the 15 independent pharmacies that were tested as part of the research, eight sold e-cigarettes to children and young people, with seven refusing.

Some 634 compliance tests – when young people under the age of 18 tried to purchase e-cigarettes – were conducted at different retailers in England between January and March 2016.

The CTSI found that national pharmacy chains had a rate of 43% of illegal sales, while market stalls and car boot sales had the highest illegal sale rate, at 68%.

Overall, 40% of all retailers sold e-cigarettes and vaping liquids to children. The practice was banned last October.

“Policies in place”

In response to the CTSI’s findings, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), which represents independent pharmacies, advised its members that pharmacy owners and superintendents of pharmacies that sell e-cigarette products need to ensure they have “policies in place to prevent illegal sales".

The NPA said that all pharmacy staff need to be aware of the law and ensure they verify the age of any young customers wishing to purchase e-cigarettes. 

It warned that retailers could be fined up to £2,500 for selling e-cigarettes to under-18s. 

Do you think e-cigarette sales should be regulated more strictly?

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