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Vape ban for Inverness retailer after sales to children

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Inverness retailer has been banned from selling vapes.
Inverness retailer has been banned from selling vapes.

Local vape retailer Mr Adnan Abbas, has been banned by Inverness Sheriff Court from selling vapes for 15 months through two of his retail shops, following an investigation by Highland Council Trading Standards officers.

Mr Abnan Abbas owns two retail shops in the city centre of Inverness. Vapecing on Inglis Street, and Wow Mobile on Lombard Street. Both shops are registered to sell nicotine vapour products or vapes.

David MacKenzie, Trading Standards manager said: “Despite repeated warnings and visits by Highland Council Trading Standards officers, Mr Abbas continued to sell vapes to underage customers with no concern for their health or welfare.

“Vapes and tobacco products contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance and can only be legally sold to adults aged 18 years or over who can produce genuine photographic ID such as a drivers licence or passport when requested”

Mr MacKenzie added: “It is the responsibility of retailers to ensure they do not inadvertently sell vapes to persons underage. In light of repeated offending, we had little option but to seek an order from the court banning Mr Abbas from selling vapes through both retail premises in prominent locations within the city centre of Inverness”.

Prior to the banning order being granted, Mr Abbas and two of his employees were found to have sold vapes to underage test purchasers (deployed by Trading Standards) on two separate occasions. Both sales occurred during the period of July to October 2023 from the retail premises named above. This resulted in four separate fixed penalty notices being issued.

Mr Abbas, also failed to operate a robust Challenge 25 Age Verification Policy in relation to both sales which also resulted in a further two fixed penalty notices being issued for the same period for both retail premises.

Tobacco and nicotine vapour product banning order notice.
Tobacco and nicotine vapour product banning order notice.

The legal age for buying vapes in Scotland is 18 years. Anyone who sells vapes to persons under this age, commits an offence. Anyone who fails to operate a Challenge 25 Age Verification Policy regarding the sale of vapes also commits an offence.

Mr MacKenzie further explains: “Although the majority of vape and tobacco retail businesses comply with the law, we will not hesitate to take proportionate enforcement action when required to protect young people.

“This includes issuing fixed penalty notices and ultimately applying to the sheriff court for a banning order where retailers continuously fail a test purchase or fail to meet their legal responsibilities.

“We will also continue an extensive programme of advisory visits to shops and “test purchases” using young volunteers”.

Any member of the public who suspects a trader is selling tobacco, vapes, solvents or other age restricted products to under 18s, can contact Trading Standards at trading.standards@highland.gov.uk to provide information in confidence.

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