Almost 16,000 illegal vape products have been seized by Hampshire County Council in a 14-month period, new figures have shown. 

Data released following a Freedom of Information request shows 15,999 illegal vapes were seized across Hampshire between January 1, 2023 and February 29 this year. 

The county ranked as the eighth highest for seizing the banned products, research by Vape Superstore has shown.

In total, 16 businesses across the county were found to be stocking illegal vapes, with 4,059 packs of illegal cigarettes also seized during this period. 

Vape Superstore has since said that an estimated one-third of vapes currently sold in the UK are believed to be non-compliant with regulations. 

READ MORE: Vapes and tobacco worth £300k seized across Hampshire in last year

Responding to the data, a Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: "As these figures support, the County Council’s Trading Standards team has seized large amounts of illegal vapes that have breached the legal controls relating to labelling, nicotine content and liquid quantity.

"The amount seized in any area of the UK is dependent on several factors, including the number of checks carried out in any given period.

"Although vaping can be a useful tool for helping smokers to quit, these devices should not be used by children or anyone who does not smoke, as the long-term risks are not fully known, and vaping nicotine products is addictive.

"Following an increase in young people experimenting with vaping, the County Council has undertaken a series of education and enforcement measures to tackle this issue.

"This includes seizing illegal vapes, which may contain unknown and harmful substances, and enforcing the law to prevent underage sales."

READ MORE: Online searches for illegal vapes in Southampton soar

As previously reported, a whopping £300,000 worth of illegal vapes and tobacco were seized across Hampshire in the last year with Trading Standards conducting test purchases across the region. 

The spokesperson added: "Our Trading Standards team visits retailers to ensure compliance with the legal controls on vapes, including the age restriction on sales.

"We check measures are in place to prevent underage sales of vapes and inspect products to ensure they are legal, in terms of labelling, nicotine content and liquid quantity.

"If a business is found to be selling illegal products or selling to anyone under the legal age, the circumstances will be investigated, which could lead to a criminal prosecution.

"Illegal items will also be seized."

Kent County Council had the highest amount of vapes seized with 431,005, followed by Isle of Anglesey County Council and Swansea Council.