“A nose for trouble: Specialist sniffer dog detects illegal vapes”

Wagtail UK trains illegal vape detection dog in collaboration with Trading Standards


Wagtail UK, an award-winning detection dog company, has taken a groundbreaking step in the fight against illegal vapes by successfully training one of the UK’s first dedicated illegal vape detection dogs.


Pippa is a remarkable Springer Spaniel who has not only been trained as an illegal vape detection dog but is also a fully trained illegal tobacco and cash detection dog. Over a span of three months, with the assistance of Trading Standards, Wagtail UK diligently trained Pippa to identify the distinct odour of vapes while ensuring she does not indicate the presence of similar scents such as scented cleaning products, confectionery and flavoured drinks, among others.


In collaboration with Trading Standards and other law enforcement agencies – and with Pippa’s invaluable assistance – Wagtail UK aims to help close a dangerous loophole that allows the vaping industry to distribute free samples of vapes to children in England.


Wagtail UK has been a leading provider of tobacco detection dogs for Trading Standards since 2010. With its extensive experience and expertise, the company has been instrumental in tackling the illicit tobacco trade across the country. Now, in 2023, Wagtail has expanded its services to combat the growing problem of illegal vapes, which pose a significant threat to public health, particularly among young people.


In recent years vaping has surged in popularity, with an alarming rise in the number of young people vaping. This has raised concerns about the potential health risks associated with vaping, as well as the easy accessibility of these products to underage consumers. Vaping is acknowledged as an important tool for quitting smoking but there are significant concerns about the illegal sale of vales to those under 18, as well as the alarming increase in harmful non-compliant vapes on sale in shops.


With Pippa’s training, Wagtail UK is at the forefront of the campaign to stamp out illegal vapes and their sale to children. Pippa’s exceptional olfactory capabilities enable her to identify the presence of vapes, even in challenging environments. This breakthrough detection capability will significantly aid Trading Standards and other law enforcement agencies in their efforts to crack down on the distribution of illegal vapes and protect the welfare of young people.


Wagtail UK is proud to have pioneered this groundbreaking development in detection dog capabilities and plans to train more illegal vape detection dogs. The deployment of Pippa marks a significant milestone in the ongoing fight against the distribution of illegal vapes to children.


This week Wagtail is exhibiting at the CTSI Conference in Birmingham. The Conference, which Wagtail also sponsors, brings together Trading Standards and regulatory professionals from across the UK and gives Wagtail a platform to engage with the industry and promote the advantages of its illegal tobacco/vape detection dog services.


Collin Singer, Managing Director of Wagtail UK, said: “Pippa’s incredible skills at sniffing out illegal vapes will be essential in our continuing work to support Trading Standards teams and protect consumers – particularly young people – from illegal and potentially dangerous vapes. We are so proud of her and look forward to working with Trading Standards in the fight against illicit vapes.”


John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI, said: “Illicit vapes have rapidly become one of the most pressing issues for Trading Standards in the UK. It is reassuring to know that we have allies like Pippa in our continued efforts to prevent a whole new generation of people becoming addicted to nicotine. Vaping is a really useful means of helping people quit smoking – which remains the primary preventable cause of death in the UK. But we are concerned that vapes with illegal levels of nicotine and other harmful substances are too readily available in the UK’s shops. We congratulate Wagtail and Pippa on their incredible achievement.”



Press Contact: Name: Collin Singer

Title: Managing Director

Email: collin.singer@wagtailuk.com

Phone: 07986731383/01745561166


About Wagtail UK: Established in 2003, Wagtail UK is one of the leading detection dog companies in the United Kingdom, specialising in the training and deployment of highly skilled detection dogs. Since 2010, Wagtail UK has been providing tobacco detection dogs to Trading Standards, and its recent achievement in training an illegal vape detection dog further solidifies its position as a pioneer in the field. Wagtail UK is dedicated to ensuring public safety by combating the illicit tobacco trade and addressing emerging threats such as illegal vapes. Wagtail also trains dogs to detect explosives, firearms, drugs, people, great crested newts, bats, elephant ivory, pangolin scales and much more.