MORE than a thousand illegal vapes were seized from shops across Warrington last year.

It is now common more than ever to walk down the street and see people of all ages inhaling disposable vapes, but the faces are getting younger.

A Trading Standards survey carried out in the north west came to the findings that one in six 14- to 17-year-olds use a vape regularly within the region.

The survey also looked into each region and found that 1,337 vapes were seized in Warrington by Trading Standards in the year 2022.

Warrington Borough Council have joined the national crackdown on the illegal sale of vapes to under 18-year-olds and have been carrying out ‘unannounced’ visits to businesses within the town and using ‘test-purchasing’ to uncover any breaches to these rules made by shops.

A spokesperson from WBC said: “Last year, these visits resulted in the seizure of more than 1,300 disposable vapes which did not comply with the rules.

“In the last 12 months, there has also been two prosecutions for the sale of vapes to young people under the age of 18 and a number of cases are also currently under investigation.”

The sale of illegal cigarettes was also scrutinised within the region during the survey, and found that in Warrington alone, 960 packs were seized by officers between the year of 2018 and 2020.

“The maximum penalty for selling an e-cigarette to a person under 18 year is a fine of £2,500. Additionally, the maximum penalty for stocking non-compliant products is £5,000 and people could even face up to 12 months imprisonment,” A council spokesperson said.

Livewire currently offer support in schools around Warrington to help tackle the vaping crisis.

They also hold a Children and Vaping Awareness session for parents on Wednesday 11 October at the Pyramid Arts Centre.

An announcement was made by the Department of Health and Social Care in April that £3million of government funding will be allocated to create a squad that will work to ‘enforce rules on vaping’ and ‘tackle illegal sales’ as the problem spreads nationally.

Health Minister Neil O’Brien said: “The new illicit vapes enforcement squad will work across the country and clamp down on those businesses who sell vapes to children - which is illegal - and get them hooked on nicotine. Our call for evidence will also allow us to get a firm understanding of the steps we can take to reduce the number of children accessing and using vapes.”

WBC gave the following advice: “Anyone wishing to report the sale of vapes, tobacco products, alcohol, or knives to people under 18, or to report any vapes that they don’t think are legal, can refer these issues to Trading Standards via the Citizen’s Advice Helpline online, or by calling 0808 223 1133.

“Citizen’s Advice will record the relevant details and then pass this information through to our public protection team to investigate further.”