A shop has been ordered to close after trading standards officers discovered it had been selling illegal vapes and cigarettes and supplying vapes to children.

Nila Vape in Lewes Road, Brighton, was issued with a month-long closure order after an investigation by Brighton and Hove City Council’s trading standards.

Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard that large numbers of children had been visiting the area to buy vapes, resulting in increased anti-social and nuisance behaviour in the area, as well as the criminal offences of selling illegal vapes and illicit tobacco. 

Many of the incidents were causing distress to residents and having a negative impact on surrounding businesses.

Inspections had been carried out by Brighton and Hove Trading Standards and officers from Sussex Police and illegal vapes and illicit tobacco were seized from the shop on two separate occasions.

The vapes were found to not be compliant with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and the tobacco products were counterfeit.

The Argus: A file image of illegal vapes seized by Sussex Police last yearA file image of illegal vapes seized by Sussex Police last year (Image: WSCC)

After the shop was closed, Trading Standards and Sussex Police visited all convenience stores in Lewes Road and the surrounding area area to remind them of their legal obligations in relation to the sale of tobacco, e-cigarettes and other age-related restricted products.

Products were seized from two of the retailers, who were found to be selling illegal vapes.

Nila Vape was issued with a closure order on March 20 2024, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

While vapes and e-cigarettes are currently considered a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, there is a growing concern about their use among children and young people, who might have not taken up smoking otherwise.

Illicit vapes might contain higher doses of nicotine and can also contain various dangerous chemicals such as lead, tin, nickel or THC.

High levels of inhaled lead damage the central nervous system and inhibit brain development, especially if inhaled by a child or a young person.

As well as negative health implications, single-use disposable vapes pose hazards to the environment.

Discarded vaping devices might be mistaken for food by wildlife such as birds, fish, and marine mammals and cause internal injuries, poisoning or death.

Both disposable and rechargeable vapes contain a hidden lithium battery that can be extremely dangerous when thrown away.

Councillor Leslie Pumm, chairman of the equalities, community safety and human rights committee, said: “I would like to repeat the warning that all retailers need to ensure all disposable e-cigarettes they sell meet UK legal requirements and remind them about the age restriction on the sale of vapes.

“Business owners have been briefed on the legal requirements around selling of vapes.

“We expect retailers to know better than risk their livelihoods and the wellbeing of our residents.

“We will be continuing our crackdown on the selling of illicit vapes and tobacco products and the selling of these to vulnerable young people.

“Anyone selling vapes to someone under 18 is committing an offence. The owner of the business can be held responsible as well as the member of staff who made the sale.”