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Hillingdon Council seized more than a million illegal vapes in 2022

Hillingdon Council has seized more than 1.3 million illegal vapes since 2020, more than half the total for the whole of London.

The council seized 1,352,063 illegal vapes in 2022, 52 times more than any other London borough, according to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Vape Club.

Since 2020, 2.5 million illegal vapes had been seized by councils with over 1.35 million of them by Hillingdon.

In part, this is because of Heathrow Airport, a known gateway for illegal trade being situated within the borough.

Hillingdon Council said: “Heathrow Airport is a gateway for goods to the whole UK, so we’re very proud to be at the vanguard of consumer protection by keeping illegal and potentially dangerous vapes from entering the country.

“Our trading standards team also regularly conducts inspections, test purchases and makes seizures from local shops as part of our broader illicit tobacco and product safety work.”

Also in close proximity to Heathrow Airport, Ealing ranks as a top borough, having faced 21,957 counterfeit vape confiscations last year.

According to the data, there are two illegal vapes sold every minute across London in 2022. 

Kate Pike, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute lead officer said that these figures were just the tip of the iceberg.

There have been serious concerns raised over the number of highly dangerous vapes entering UK borders.

The seized vapes are usually in breach of UK regulations with extremely high levels of nicotine, containing illegal ingredients or have oversized tanks for nicotine liquid.

They are often counterfeits of the popular brands being sold illegally. 

Dan Marchant, Director of Vape Club the UK’s largest vaping and e-liquids retailer, said: “The responsible side of the industry is literally begging for the authorities to enforce the regulations and take serious action against the businesses flouting the rules. 

“What’s needed is a licensing scheme so proper age verification tests can be applied to every retailer. There must also be higher fines applied to every breach for the rogue sellers.”

There were seven times more illegal vapes seized in the first quarter of 2023 than in the whole of 2021, although there are not projected to be as many seizures this year as there were in 2022.

Since 2021, half of all illegal vape seizures have been located in London.

The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) is calling for the fines to be raised to at least £10,000.

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