More than £13,000 of illegal vapes have been seized during an operation in York.

The City of York Council has revealed that during a recent raid, more than 1,000 e-cigarettes worth more than £13,000 were taken off the streets.

Operation Hunter targeted businesses selling oversized e-cigarettes, which are vapes that contain over 2ml of nicotine liquid. It took place over the course of two days with trading standards seizing a total of 1,096 e-cigarettes from three city centre businesses - worth £13,152.

In addition, a separate operation targeted shops with one business caught selling vapes to underage customers.

Matt Boxall, head of public protection at City of York Council, said: “We will always act on information from the public and will ensure that any items being sold illegally are removed from sale.

“The message to businesses in York is ‘don’t sell them here’. If you do, we will seize them.”


The businesses were targeted after trading standards received complaints or intelligence from members of the public or other authorities such as the police.

Off the back of an NHS study that showed a rise in vaping amongst school children, the council surveyed 4,267 children and young people from across 37 schools, as part of its York Schools Survey between October 2021 and January 2022.

The results represented 63 per cent of all children and young people in the selected year groups.

Of those surveyed:

  • 19 per cent of secondary and sixth form pupils had used an e-cigarette and 10 per cent had used conventional cigarettes
  • 26 per cent of year 12 pupils have tried or used cigarettes
  • 52 per cent of year 12 pupils do not know where to get help to stop smoking
  • 12 per cent of pupils said they wanted help to stop smoking. This rises significantly to 44 per cent in year 12.

A citywide public health campaign was launched last year to help teens quit vaping.

Cllr Jo Coles, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult social care, said: “High levels of nicotine in illegal vapes can be really damaging to our health, and no vapes are suitable for children, so it’s really worrying that shops in York have been selling them, and selling vapes to under 18s.

"Illegal vapes have no place in our city and we must ensure our children are protected from them. Huge thanks to our trading standards team and the public who raised the alarm about this.”

If you have concerns about what you suspect to be illegal activity, you can email, visit the website, or report via Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 2231133.”