BOTOX and vapes need "future attention" in the fight against underage sales and counterfeit goods, council leaders have said.

E-cigarettes and Botox injections have been discussed alongside cigarettes and weapons in a council report.

A new Act bans Botox or filler injections - which carry risks to health including infection, blindness and even death - to under-18s except when approved by a doctor and carried out by an approved person.

Councillors heard of the emerging concerns over supplies to under-18s and illicit sales in a report to a Durham County Council cabinet meeting.

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Mark Wilkes, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: "This sets out our priorities for the coming year for the protection of young people against improper use of age-restricted products."

He said despite Covid difficulties "we have continued to have a number of successful operations with action taken against illicit tobacco operators and retailers failing to uphold the necessary standards.

"The report also sets out some of the new challenges emerging including issues around e-cigarettes and vaping products where counterfeit and sub-standard products are appearing on the market and present a risk to young people, and also new regulations controlling the administration of Botox beauty products to under-18s.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Mark Wilkes. Picture: Sarah Caldecott.Cllr Mark Wilkes. Picture: Sarah Caldecott. (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

"This legislation aims to safeguard our young people from the potential physical and emotional damage that such procedures could present if not properly supervised."

Cllr Alan Shield, cabinet member for equality and inclusion, said: "This is an extremely comprehensive plan encompassing intelligence-led enforcement activity along with important public awareness and educational activities across the county and across the region.

"This includes working with businesses themselves to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities."

The Northern Echo: Cllr Alan Shield. Picture: Sarah Caldecott.Cllr Alan Shield. Picture: Sarah Caldecott.

He said convictions and confiscations sent out "a strong message to potential perpetrators that we remain vigilant."

He added: "The new developments including vaping products, offensive weapons and beauty products are in some way a reflection of the pressures that our young people can be subjected to from the way that culture, fashion and beauty are represented in the media, including on social media."

Alan Patrickson, director of neighbourhoods and climate change, said the harm and crime associated with supplies of the products to under-18s would be tackled working with police, Revenue and Customs and others.

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He spoke of "notable successes" against illicit tobacco sales. In one case more than 156,000 cigarettes and about 53kg hand rolling tobacco, worth about £61,500, were seized and a shop closed for six months.

More than 6,000 cigarettes and 3.8kg tobacco were recovered in other inspections, warrants were issued on seven premises and 27 cease and desist orders were issued to low-level domestic sellers.

Mr Patrickson said they would focus on disrupting illicit supply chains, responding to intelligence, preventing storage of counterfeit goods and raising awareness with the Keep It Out campaign.


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