OWNERS of a convenience store in Kingswood and a newsagents in Hanham have been ordered to pay almost £11,000 in fines and costs for selling illegal disposable e-cigarettes.
In what it hailed as the first prosecution of its kind in England, South Gloucestershire Council took action against the men after complaints that their businesses, Kingswood Food and Wine in Kingswood and MJ News in Hanham, were selling vapes with up to seven times the 2ml legal limit of nicotine e-liquid in them.
At Bristol Crown Court in January, Ariyan (SW) Limited and its sole director, Gaurav Kotia, 34, of Downend, pleaded guilty to selling illegal disposable e-cigs at the Hanham shop and being in possession for supply of a further 355 devices. Kotia and his company were fined a total of £2,750, ordered to pay council costs £2,500 and required to pay £68 in victim surcharges.
Rajendrakumar Parikh, 31, of Downend, pleaded guilty to selling disposable e-cigarettes
at the Kingswood shop and being in possession for supply of a further 291 devices. Parikh and his company were fined a total of £2,450, ordered to pay council costs £2,950 and required to pay £68 in victim surcharges.
The court heard that when trading standards officers visited the premises in June 2022 they found labelled devices containing up to seven times the 2ml legal limit of nicotine e-liquid, so the products were seized and these prosecutions progressed.
Cabinet councillor Rachel Hunt said: “Following intelligence that illegal e-cigarettes are being sold in the South Gloucestershire area, the council’s trading standards officers have been undertaking checks to ensure only legal e-cigarettes that have undergone the MHRA submission and notification process are sold to customers. During 2022, we seized over 4000 illegal disposable e-cigarette devices with a retail value of over £32,500. These have now been destroyed in an environmentally friendly way. Although vaping is considered far safer than smoking traditional tobacco products, inhaling nicotine through a device is not risk free. That is why there is legislation in place to regulate products placed on the market.”
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: “The proactive work undertaken by South Gloucestershire Council is to be commended and the subsequent landmark ruling, is a reminder to businesses that selling illegal and non-compliant products will not be tolerated.
Anyone who suspects they may have been sold, or is aware of a business selling, non-compliant disposable e-cigarettes is urged to report it on 0808 223 1133.