Shops under investigation after selling cigarettes and e-liquids to underage teenager

Eight city shops are under investigation after cigarettes and electronic cigarette liquids were sold to a 16-year-old girl.

The volunteer went undercover for Aberdeen City Council and visited 24 shops where she attempted to buy cigarettes and e-liquids as part of the trading standards operation.

The girl was turned away at 16 of the businesses however she managed to buy cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine from eight retailers without being asked for ID to prove her age.

At the eight retailers, she bought four packets of 20 cigarettes and four e-liquids containing nicotine. All eight shops have been notified and investigations are under way.

Graeme Paton, the trading standards manager at Aberdeen City Council, said: "It is a legal requirement that retailers of tobacco and e-liquid products in the city have measures in place to prevent sale to those under-age.

“Staff should be properly trained and part of that means asking anyone who appears to be younger than 25 for proof of their age before the sale takes place.

“This is all the more disappointing as all of the shops involved had been visited in the last few weeks and been given advice and information of their legal responsibilities, and were informed we would be carrying out test purchases.

“It is clear that some shops are not checking and we’re going to have to take steps to re-enforce our message.”

Shops which sell cigarettes and e-liquids to anyone under 18 years old can face fines of up to £2,500 or a fixed penalty notice of £200 for each offence. Shops which are caught selling on three occasions can have their registration to sell tobacco or electronic cigarettes and liquids taken away from them.

Anyone with information regarding shops selling to young people can report them anonymously to the trading standards by phoning 01224 522433 or email tradingstandards@aberdeencity.gov.uk.