Clause 19 - Enforcement by local weights and measures authorities

Part of Tobacco and Vapes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 9 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 3:00, 9 Mai 2024

This is obviously an incredibly important area of enforcement, and successful enforcement is integral to the success of this policy.

To the question from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston about Operation Joseph, in the year before the operation—2022-23—2.1 million illicit vapes were seized by trading standards across England. In the same year, 1,199 test purchases were carried out by trading standards in England, with 27.3% resulting in an illegal sale. Those are the numbers. As the hon. Lady says, Operation Joseph has had £3 million of investment over two years, led by National Trading Standards. It conducts a range of illicit vape enforcement activities, including data collection and analysis of the scale of illegal products and under-age sales; market surveillance; under-age sales testing; court enforcement action; and upskilling of trading standards staff. A further operation—Operation CeCe —was established in January 2021 as a joint venture between National Trading Standards and His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to tackle illicit tobacco sales.

So those individual measures are in place. As hon. Members will know, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency looks at the product notifications for legal products, which have to meet the compliance standards of the MHRA. It is then for trading standards to enforce, and they have had a significant increase in resources to tackle enforcement, as I have set out. I am obviously happy to write to Members with more detail should they wish.