One in five shops are willing to sell vapes to under 18s, an investigation has found.
Test purchases were carried out by young people working with local authority Trading Standards officers in tightly controlled test purchase situations to check that sellers are abiding by the law by asking for proof of age where appropriate and refusing to sell to children.
Officers also found that one in eight sellers of tobacco and nicotine vapes visited sold cigarettes to an under 18 volunteer.
Last year, officers carried out test purchases at 312 premises in total across Scotland and found 63 failures for vapes, and 268 attempted test purchases of tobacco with 33 failures.
The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) said the result was “very concerning” and “significantly worse than expected” adding that the results “may in large part be caused by the child appealing nature of (in particular single use) vapes, and their wide availability in shops and service premises”.
Last year saw a massive surge in popularity of single use or disposable vapes, which are cheap to buy and in the main use child appealing packaging to attract younger users.
David MacKenzie, chair of SCOTSS said: “The health of young people is a key priority for Trading Standards and smoking is the greatest threat to their health and development, especially for younger children.
“These results are very concerning and we will be stepping up efforts this year to support sellers with advice, and continue to take enforcement action where sellers break the law.
“NVPs can be a useful cessation aid for smokers who want to give up smoking, but they are not intended as a lifestyle product for young people. The bright packaging colours and sugary and fruity flavours are child appealing, and the easy availability of single use vapes in particular is not helpful. We would like to see the same display rules applied to NVPs that is applied to tobacco, i.e. they are kept out of sight in store.”