Council inundated with complaints of vapes being sold to children, says Nelson

Further to colleague Peter McReynolds MLA’s previous comments, Alliance Belfast City Councillor Sam Nelson has echoed calls for vape shops in Belfast to start taking their responsibilities seriously and stop selling vapes/e-cigarettes to children and young people.

Belfast City Council Sam Nelson

The call comes after he was made aware of concerns from parents in his Castle DEA.


Councillor Nelson has said: “I had recently been made aware of complaints by parents about certain shops selling disposable vapes to children and young people. When I reported this to the Tobacco Control Team on Belfast City Council, I was shocked to hear just how widespread the problem is.


Since legislation came in last February to age restrict disposable vapes, the Tobacco Control Team has been inundated with complaints about vapes being sold to those who are underage.


The council carried out test purchases by child volunteers who are typically between 13 to 17 years old, and it turned out about 50% of these children were successful in trying to buy a vape. That’s a simply appalling rate of non-compliance.


If we’re to work towards a smoke-free Northern Ireland and properly safeguard the health and well-being of our young people, we need to get tougher in terms of regulating access to vapes/e-cigarettes, and educating kids about the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction.


Retailers cannot keep flouting the rules like this, and more needs to be done to guarantee transparency and accountability around who is selling vapes and who they’re selling them to. Their actions are causing real harm to children and young people in our community.”