Newport City Centre Fruit Shop Owner Prosecuted for Illegally Selling E-Cigarettes to Minors

Shahram Bakir Ahmed, the proprietor of the “Four Seasons” fruit shop on the central business street of Newport, is facing legal action from the local government. Earlier this year, the Trading Standards Office received information that a teenager under the age of 18 had purchased an electronic cigarette from Ahmed’s shop.

Police officers had previously visited the store to explain regulations regarding the sale of age-restricted products and left detailed information packs for clarification. However, just a month later, the store faced another complaint after a woman purchased a nicotine-containing electronic cigarette, specifically an “Elf Bar” disposable e-cigarette.

Subsequent complaints against the store included allegations of illegal tobacco sales, unauthorized sales, and selling e-cigarettes to minors. As a result, the shop has been issued a closure order under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act and will remain closed until the expiration of the extended closure order on January 25, 2024.

Following a trial at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, Ahmed (32 years old, residing on Oaktree Road in Caterham, Surrey) was fined £1,345, encompassing fines, legal costs, and additional fees. He admitted to some of the violations.

James Clarke, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Housing, and Regulation in the city, expressed, “We made it abundantly clear to this shop that selling e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18 is illegal, and there is no excuse for selling such products.”

Currently, the UK government is in discussions across its four nations to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to children, with plans to introduce relevant legislation in the UK in the new year.

Health Secretary Andrea Leadsom informed the House of Commons that legislation regarding tobacco and e-cigarettes will soon become law. The proposed legislation aims to limit the flavors and descriptions of e-cigarettes to ensure they are not targeted towards children.