Andover shops were not caught selling vapes to underaged Advertiser reporter following an investigation, apprentice trainee Lola Crossman reports.

Following growing concerns about young people having access to age-restricted products, the Advertiser wanted to see if shops in our community would sell to underaged customers, without ID or any form of age verification.

Teenage vaping is a pressing issue, according to a survey from the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which shows that experimental vaping has risen to 20.5 per cent in 2023, with 7.5 per cent of 11 to 17-year-olds regularly vaping.

It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to children - only people over the age of 18 can buy the products under UK law.

READ MORE: Residents urged to lend a hand to Andover Foodbank this Christmas

However, according to Trading Standards, illicit sales of vaping products are the largest threat to the UK high street this year.

I am 16 years old and some of my underage peers living in the town vape. I wanted to find out if shops are playing their part to stop these products from getting into the hands of underaged people.

I went to six shops in total, including chain vape stores, and anywhere else in the town centre with vapes for sale.

All six shops refused to sell the age-restricted products without ID, abiding by the Think 25 policy.

SEE MORE: Remarkable people and groups unveiled as Pride of Andover 2023 finalists revealed

The Think 25 policy outlines that anyone who appears to be under the age of 25 should be asked for ID, to prevent age-restricted products from being sold to those under 18.

Councillor Iris Andersen, of the Andover St Mary’s ward, has previously expressed concern over underage people having access to vapes.

She said: “It is going on in Andover, let's put it this way, how they’re getting the vapes is a different matter. There is underage vaping.

“They are not allowed to be sold vapes until 18, but my partner and I have been approached by young people to buy vapes for them, so the young people are getting them.

“They are vaping however they won’t tell you they are doing it.

“I support the businesses in Andover a lot, however, selling vapes to underaged people is unacceptable. And I'm sure the businesses are not selling them to the young people.

“We have no idea what damage it is doing to the young people, my concern is for them and their health.”

We have no idea what damage it is doing to the young people.”