Great Yarmouth girl, 11, falls ill after vaping

08:51 July 9, 2022

A mother is calling for action against the sale of illegal e-cigarettes to children after her daughter was rushed to hospital after vaping.

Holly Smith, from Louise Close, Great Yarmouth, said Ruby, 11, was extremely lethargic and could barely stand after trying the fake vape that a child bought illegally for as little as £8.

The e-cigarettes seized by Trading Standards are designed to look like highlighters and appeal to children at risk of “unexpected harm” from content exceeding maximum levels.
– Credit: Trading Standards

The 29-year-old said she knew her daughter had “taken something” and was rushed by ambulance to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

Miss Smith is now calling for action against sales of disposable vapes to minors, which are often attractively packaged, brightly colored and advertised as having fruity flavours.

Illegal versions can contain twice the legal amount of nicotine and cause “unexpected harm”.

Fake vapes seized by Trading Standards in Norfolk

Electronic cigarettes seized by Trading Standards in Norfolk. Consumers are advised to verify that the contents do not exceed the maximum strength of 2 pieces or the maximum capacity of 2ml.
– Credit: Trading Standards

Miss Smith said she was aware of children as young as nine regularly buying vapes from unscrupulous retailers.

“I don’t understand why they are so available,” she said.

Holly Smith, from Great Yarmouth, has raised concerns about sales of disposable vapes to children by minors.

Holly Smith, from Great Yarmouth, has raised concerns about sales of disposable vapes to children by minors after her daughter fell ill.
– Credit: Holly Smith

“I think it’s disgusting. They should take them off the shelves and hide them like cigarettes. They shouldn’t be within reach.”

Miss Smith, a cleaner, said there are a number of health risks associated with vaping, including lung damage and tumours, and is calling on Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis to tackle the issue.

Fake vapes seized by Trading Standards in Norfolk

Some of the fake vapes seized in Norfolk. People are urged to check the packaging for a UK address and also that the health warning refers to nicotine as a ‘substance’ and not a ‘chemical’.
– Credit: Trading Standards

Norfolk County Council Trading Standards said it had received six complaints since April 1 this year about traders in Yarmouth involving underage vaping sales, with three involving the same trader.

Overall, there has been a “worrying increase” in complaints.

Earlier this year, inspectors discovered thousands of illegal e-cigarettes offered for sale across the county, 350 of which were seized from a store in King’s Lynn.

The products were found to contain more than twice the legal maximum level of nicotine and three times the maximum volume of liquid and could cause “unexpected harm”.

Fake vapes seized by Norfolk Trading Standards

By commercial standards, the design, disposable nature of vapes, and low cost help make them appealing to kids. Among other checks, the packaging must bear a UK address.
– Credit: Trading Standards

Mr Lewis said he was aware of the issues around access to vaping products and alleged underage sales in Great Yarmouth which he was following.

He added: “I urge anyone who has concerns about this or any other matter to contact me at [email protected]

Selling any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes, to people under 18 is against the law in the UK.

To report companies selling illegal or age-restricted products to underage children, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.

About Margaret Shaw

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