Person selecting a vape refill from a store shelf

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards has carried out undercover ‘mystery shopper’ visits to shops that sell vapes.

Trading Standards Officers asked a 15 year old Warwickshire Police cadet volunteer to attempt to purchase nicotine vapes from thirteen premises located across all five districts and boroughs.

Twelve stores asked for age identification and the sale was refused to the 15-year-old. At the thirteenth a sale was nearly made and this premise remains under investigation.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:

“Warwickshire Trading Standards has received increasing numbers of complaints about the sale of nicotine inhaling devices such as e-cigarettes and vapes to under 18’s and to school children in particular.”

“This is why we are both educating our sellers and carrying out undercover test purchase exercises with child volunteers. I would encourage all our retailers to ‘Challenge 25’ whenever they sell these products and ask for age identification.”

“I’m pleased that on this occasion the vast majority of vape sellers asked for age identification and refused the sale. We will be carrying out similar enforcement exercises in the future.”

Under The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 it is an offense to sell a nicotine-inhaling product to someone under the age of 18.

If found guilty of selling nicotine-inhaling products to a young person under 18 years, an individual may be fined up to £2,500 in the Magistrates’ Court.

Retailers are encouraged to operate a Challenge 25 policy and ask for age identification of anyone who appears under 25 years of age. For more advice, visit

Warwickshire Trading Standards uses intelligence gathered from the public, parents, schools, and other organisations to assist them to target their enforcement exercises. Report the sale (and proxy sale) of nicotine-inhaling products (e-cigarettes and vapes) to under 18s to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Phone 0808 223 1133 or visit:

Published: 16th November 2022