You might ask what have Trading Standards (TS) got to do with public health? Our work actually covers more areas of public health than you might imagine. We support consumers in the South West in numerous ways, helping them avoid becoming a victim of crime. This might be through our campaigns and resources provided to enable a consumer to make good, safe choices; or through the enforcement we complete (e.g. to ensure fake goods don’t reach the consumer and cause harm, or in prosecuting rogue traders and stopping anyone else becoming a victim).
This discipline for Trading Standards includes enforcing the legislation around age restricted sales, which includes the sale of products such as alcohol, tobacco, knives and fireworks. We provide businesses with training in this area via our No Proof of Age – No Sale resource. In recent years, the sale of eCigarettes and vapes has sky-rocketed, with products often reaching the hands of school children. Hence, TS in many areas are now liaising with schools to raise awareness of the issues surrounding illegal vapes. This is in addition to conducting test purchases at premises we are informed are selling to minors.
We also work with colleagues at HMRC to disrupt the sale of illegal tobacco and tobacco products from the marketplace. We have a website dedicated to this subject, which includes a reporting line: SWIllegaltobacco.org.uk