SELLING illegal vapes to minors has a "laughable" consequence, according to CEO who is calling for fines to be increased to £10k.

Gurdeep Lander, CEO of Tidal Vape which recently opened in Salisbury, said enforcement is the key to stopping rogues selling illicit e-cigarettes.

The exclusive interview came after a Journal investigation that saw a reporter buy four illegal vapes and resulted in several shops being raided by Wiltshire Trading Standards.

Read more: Illegal vapes seized from Salisbury shops in Trading Standards raid

This investigation just scratched the surface of a large nationwide issue of illegal sellers which is "massively" affecting the vape industry, said Mr Lander.

Salisbury Journal: Tidal Vape offers many flavours of vapes.Tidal Vape offers many flavours of vapes. (Image: Newsquest)

Currently, shopkeepers found selling vapes larger than the legal limit to minors can be fined as little as £200.

On July 7, Ruqueya Iqbal and Amreek Singh were fined £500 at Kirklees Magistrates Court for selling illegally sized vapes to a 15-year-old child in September 2022.

Branding this small deterrent "laughable", Mr Lander said: "We can openly sell illicit vapes to minors. The only reason we don't is because we're looking at the greater good of the industry and I have a conscience with young children of my own."

The UK Vaping Industry Association is calling for a blanket £10k fine on any shop caught selling illicit vapes which Mr Lander said would be impactful enough to stop the sales.

See more: ​Evapo boss calls for bigger fines on shops selling illegal vapes

But the lack of enforcement creates a small risk for black market traders, Mr Lander added: "You can have any fine you want but without enforcement, it's never going to work."

Tidal Vape operates a 'Challenge 25' policy which means anyone who appears under the age of 25 should be asked for identification before they are sold a vape.

If a customer came to Tidal Vape and asked for a ‘big vape’, staff would tell them anything over 600 puffs does not exist and would say it’s an illegal product, according to Mr Lander.

Salisbury Journal: Tidal Vape opened recently in Salisbury.Tidal Vape opened recently in Salisbury. (Image: Newsquest)

Illegal sellers who are dealing imported vapes 10 times larger than the legal size for as little as £9 create a "tougher challenge" for legitimate businesses. A typical 2ml legal disposable vape would cost £4.50.

Mr Lander said: "I think we will be successful but it makes it more difficult. It's a tougher challenge because it's giving up a stream of revenue from people trying to give up smoking."

Tidal Vape started with the mission to help smokers give up cigarettes, ultimately beating the habit and improving their health.

Growing to serve around 55k customers per week across the south, Mr Lander explained how he set out to save lives after he heard of friends dying as a result of smoking. 

"When we came across how many people we were helping we were pleasantly forced into growing the business," he said.