10 shops in Edinburgh found selling vapes to children in just one month sparking calls for crackdown

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Ten shops were caught selling vapes to children during random spot checks.

Ten shops in Edinburgh were caught selling vapes to children in just one month this year, new figures have revealed.

Shops across Edinburgh were found to be selling counterfeit or illegal vaping devices on 23 occasions this year so far, with 10 having been caught out in June alone, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. In April, 10 were also found to have sold a vape to under 18s.

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But no premises or business-owner caught selling vapes to those underage has been prosecuted or even subject to a report to the Crown Office by Edinburgh’s trading standards team.

Shops in Edinburgh have been found selling vapes to under 18s, an FOI has found.Shops in Edinburgh have been found selling vapes to under 18s, an FOI has found.
Shops in Edinburgh have been found selling vapes to under 18s, an FOI has found.

It comes as one worried parent told the Evening News his seven-year-old son was found with a vape in his school bag after he found it in the playground. The dad-of-two said: “My youngest son’s teacher said another child in the class saw him taking a vape out of his bag. We were really worried. When we talked to him after school he said he had seen it in the playground and just picked it up. He told us that he didn’t use it. It’s a huge worry for us as parents.

"If it was another pupil vaping then that’s really alarming. I don’t want my son being drawn into using these devices because he sees other kids in primary school doing it. It’s bad enough that they are so colourful and come in fruity flavours, the marketing makes them almost like sweets. Shops selling them illegally to kids should be reported at least.”

It comes after reports that Edinburgh schoolchildren are “too scared to go to the toilet” due to a growing number of kids vaping in bathrooms. Concerns over the effect of teen vaping on education and health were raised at a parents’ forum last month, with plans agreed to step-up work with the NHS and schools to spread awareness of the risks.

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A ban on disposable e-cigarettes is being considered by the Scottish Government due to their environmental impact and growing popularity among young people. A consultation will be held on the plans in early 2024.


Between 2022 and April 2023, four shops were caught selling vapes to children in Edinburgh. From 2019 to 2020, four shops were caught selling to minors over a three month period. During the previous year between 2018 and 2019, six shops sold vapes to children. No spot checks were carried out between March 2020 and August 2022, after records started in 2018.

The figures have prompted calls from a local MSP for ‘vigorous’ testing. Tory MSP Miles Briggs MSP has condemned businesses that have stocked and sold illegal vapes to children.

Miles Briggs MSP said: "These figures are very concerning, especially where they involve purchase by children. While these may appear to be small numbers in the first instance, they only represent one month this year and these are random checks. We need to make sure trading standards are vigorously, randomly testing as many shops as possible. There are growing concerns around the use of vapes by children and the long-term impact this could be having on their health and development."

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A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson for Trading Standards said:

“Concerning the 23 premises involved in the sale of illegal or counterfeit vapes, as investigations are ongoing it’d be inappropriate to comment further.

“Regarding the premises which failed test purchases, Trading Standards undertake a staged process where traders are advised of any relevant failures and compliance is sought through advice and warnings. All premises were subject to further test purchases which they passed.”

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