Bicester convenience store fined for selling disposable e-cigarette to child

A peach ice flavour disposable e-cigarette was sold to a 15-year-old during a test purchase. Credit: PA

The director of a convenience store in Oxfordshire has been fined more than £2,500 for selling a disposable e-cigarette to a child.

Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards service visited Bicester Local and Post Office in Sheep Street, as part of a test purchasing operation following complaints by local residents.

The business sold a peach ice flavour disposable e-cigarette - sometimes known as a puff bar or vape pen, to a 15 year old in January 2023.

Mr Nevilkumar Mody, 35, a director of Haridisharn Ltd, made the sale himself, and didn't ID the test purchaser.

He pleaded guilty and was convicted of a single offence. He was fined £400 and made to pay £160 in victim surcharge. Full costs of £2,037 were awarded to Oxfordshire County Council, which brought the prosecution.Councillor Kate Gregory, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “E-cigarettes are one of the most effective methods of supporting someone to quit smoking.

"However, while e-cigarettes pose only a small fraction of the risk of traditional cigarettes, they are not risk-free products and we do not encourage young people who have never smoked before to begin using them.

“The trading standards teams will continue to make test purchases of this kind, to ensure that adequate precautions are being taken by retailers to prevent the sale of such products to children.”

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “Many Oxfordshire retailers work very hard to train their staff and implement systems to prevent the sale of such items to children.

"The rising popularity of disposable e-cigarettes amongst teenagers makes appropriate age verification checks absolutely essential.

“Those who don’t follow the rules not only put children at risk but also gain an unfair advantage over their competitors. We will continue to respond to community concerns in this area, prioritising the health and wellbeing of residents and helping to create a level playing field for businesses to operate within.”

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