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ACS has launched a campaign to help retailers with the responsible sale of vaping products. The vaping market has grown significantly in recent years, but there are ongoing challenges with imported and counterfeit vapes being sold, as well as access to vaping products by underage customers. Challenging customers who look underage is one of the biggest triggers of abuse (ACS Crime Report 2023), so signposting retailers’ responsibilities can be an effective way of reducing the risk of confrontation. 

The campaign has three main objectives:

  • Support retailers in communicating their robust age restricted sales policies on vapes to customers
  • Educate retailers and consumers on what to look for when identifying illicit or fake vapes
  • Encourage retailers to report illegal activity by other businesses when they see it

As part of the campaign, we have put together a number of assets including Challenge 25 posters specific to the vaping category, a specialist reporting guide for fake vapes, and our industry leading Assured Advice on the responsible sale of vaping products. All of the assets are available to download here.

Speaking on the launch of the campaign, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The vaping market has grown significantly in the last few years and is an important product category in thousands of convenience stores, but along with the growth of the legitimate market has been an explosion of rogue sellers. These businesses are sourcing illicit products from rogue distributors and failing to take their responsibilities on age restricted sales seriously.

“Through this campaign, we are sending a clear message that having a robust Challenge25 policy is the best way for retailers and their colleagues to eliminate sales to underage customers, and we’re encouraging anyone concerned about the sale of illicit products to report it straight away.”

Research conducted by ACS at the end of 2022 showed that more than one in 10 retailers suspected other local businesses of selling illegal vapes. Any retailer who’s not sure about whether products they’ve been offered are legitimate or not should check the MHRA’s Notified Products list, which is online here:

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