Mum's plea after girl, 11, rushed to hospital after vaping

Holly Smith from Great Yarmouth is calling for a clampdown on illegal vapes.

Some of the illegal vapes seized by Trading Standards, and inset, Holly Smith who is calling for action on under-age sales of vapes after her daughter was rushed to hospital. Some of the fakes contain twice the legal amount of nicotine. - Credit: Trading Standards/Holly Smith

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

Holly Smith, of Louise Close, Great Yarmouth, said Ruby, 11, was extremely lethargic and could hardly stand after trying the fake vape purchased illegally by a child for as little as £8.

Fake vapes seized by Trading Standards in Norfolk

E-cigarettes seized by Trading Standards made to look like highlighters and appeal to children who are being placed at risk of 'unexpected harm' by contents which exceed maximum levels. - Credit: Trading Standards

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

Miss Smith is now calling for action over under-age sales of disposable vapes, which are often attractively packaged, brightly coloured, 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

E-cigarettes seized by Trading Standards in Norfolk. Consumers are advised to check contents do not exceed maximum strength of 2pc or maximum capacity of 2ml. - Credit: Trading Standards

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

"I do not understand why they are so available," she said.

Holly Smith, from Great Yarmouth, has flagged concerns about under-age sales of disposable vapes to children.

Holly Smith, from Great Yarmouth, has flagged concerns about under-age sales of disposable vapes to children after her daughter was taken ill. - Credit: Holly Smith

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"I think it is disgusting. They should take them off the shelves and hide them like they do cigarettes. They should not be within arm's reach."

Miss Smith, a housekeeper, said there were 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 packaging for a UK address and also that the health warning refers to nicotine as a 'substance' not a 'chemical.' - Credit: Trading Standards

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

Generally there was "a worrying increase" in complaints.

Earlier this year inspectors found thousands of illegal e-cigarettes offered for sale across the county, with 350 seized from a shop in King’s Lynn.

The products have been 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

According to Trading Standards the design, disposable nature of vapes, and their low cost, helps make them appealing to children. Among other checks the packaging should carry a UK address. - Credit: Trading Standards

Mr Lewis said he was aware of issues regarding access to vaping products and alleged under-age sales in Great Yarmouth which he was following up.

He added: "I would urge anyone who has concerns regarding this or any other matter to contact me at brandon.lewis.mp@parliament.uk “

The sale of any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes, to people under the age of 18, is against the law in the UK.

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