Decision details


Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Key points from the discussion:

1.    The Team Manager presented a statutory report on underage sales which had been extended to cover the wider work on tobacco.  He highlighted that:

a)    The work around tobacco also touched upon the vapes work as well so there was a bit of overlap with the vapes report discussed earlier.

b)    work is done in partnership with public health colleagues, so it fits with smoking cessation and the health aspects. The work that we do is reported here and reported back through public health colleagues through to the relevant boards and organisations within both authorities.

c)    For the previous year there were 23 premises visited and a significant number of illicit cigarettes were seized, similarly with hand rolling tobacco, and packages of a kind of niche tobacco product. The tobacco detection dogs were always used now. The methods of hiding and the methods of selling were changing constantly. Written warnings had been issued to businesses for illicit vape sales.  Licence reviews were being looked at.

d)    A couple of Illegal tobacco roadshows had been held in Buckinghamshire, with the dog, which resulted in some interesting intelligence and information. The Youth Forum event that the officer in Buckinghamshire attended was interesting just to pick up on the feedback from younger people.

e)    Next year the service would carry on working with in partnership with interested organisations and maybe more potential work with HMRC when the funding comes through for the vapes. Intelligence gathering would continue and use that to target test purchase operations. This relied on volunteers and officers were happy to say that the problem with volunteer numbers in Surrey last year has been resolved. Liaison would take place with public health colleagues around messaging on vapes.  Officers attended the Tobacco Alliance meetings in both authorities to gather intelligence from relevant partners nationally and regionally.  The service would continue to seek licence reviews when appropriate and monitor the marketplace.

f)     There was a new product on the market that may be a problem in the future.  This came in the form of a nicotine pouch that is popped into the mouth and gets round the issues users have with vapes. Anecdotal information from younger people was that they were popular and was a big thing with TikTok influencers.

2.    The Co-Chair asked if there was anything that needed to be done before the forthcoming vaping legislation came into force, for example education.  The Assistant Head of Trading Standards explained that it was early days yet but as with any new legislations there would be some work to do raising awareness with the business community.  There would also be some supporting material from DEFRA.  Businesses like certainty so this work will not happen until the legislation has been agreed.


Actions/ further information to be provided:




That the report be noted as a reflection of activity over the financial year 2023–2024 and the continued enforcement activities which will be undertaken in 2024– 2025 be endorsed.


Publication date: 15/05/2024

Date of decision: 10/04/2024

Decided at meeting: 10/04/2024 - Buckinghamshire Council and Surrey County Council Joint Trading Standards Service Committee

Accompanying Documents: