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$100K in vaping products sold to kids via Snapchat on Vancouver Island seized

Federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits sale of vaping products to anyone under age 18
Police seized more than $100,000 in vaping products being sold to youth at local schools after executing a search warrant at a Saanich business Friday (March 6). (Courtesy Saanich Police Department)

Saanich police have seized more than $100,000 worth of vaping products being sold to youth at local schools after a nearly five-month-long investigation.

On Friday (March 17), the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team executed a search warrant alongside Saanich police’s street crime unit at a business that was allegedly selling vaping products to students under the age of 18.

Police located and seized vape kits, pens, e-cigarettes, tanks, e-liquids and disposables, as well as liquids containing up to 98 per cent THC content and some tobacco products.

According to police, an investigation that began in November 2022 revealed that the sellers had been contacting youth mostly through the social media platform Snapchat to advertise their products, before sending direct messages to confirm prices and schedule delivery times and locations.

Officers witnessed individuals selling vaping products to youth at schools across the Capital Regional District over the next several months, both during and after school hours. The same individuals were also seen selling to youth at malls and parks, accepting cash and even cards with portable point-of-sale machines.

Police also noted that the sellers used food delivery service bags, duffle bags or plastic totes to conceal their operation.

“It is clear that the items are branded and marketed in such a way to entice youth into buying them, and these individuals specifically targeted schools to sell their products,” Saanich police spokesperson Const. Markus Anastasiades said in a statement.

The federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act prohibits the distribution of any tobacco or vaping product to a person under the age of 18. While no arrests have been made, the investigation remains ongoing, said police.

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