On May 20th 2017, a Tobacco Products Directive came into force which changed smoking and vaping laws in the UK, giving shops just 24 hours to clear shelves of any old stock. It is now illegal for tobacco giants to sell cigarettes in non-standard cartons.
Vaping has been hit with a raft of regulations including limits to the size and strength of e-cigarettes as well as banning certain ingredients including caffeine and colourings.
What are the new vaping laws and regulations?
- All e-liquids and e-cigarettes will have to be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency before they are put up for sale.
- E-liquids cannot be sold in quantities greater than 10ml.
- The strength of nicotine in e-liquids cannot exceed 20mg/ml.
- E-cigarette tanks cannot exceed 2ml capacity
- E-liquids must be thoroughly tested and approved as high purity; ingredients such as colourings, caffeine and taurine are banned.
- E-liquids and hardware must follow new labelling requirements including nicotine health warnings.
- E-cigarette advertisements will be subject to stricter control, promoting devices on TV, radio, in newspapers and magazines will be banned.
- E-liquid bottles must be child-proof and resistant to tampering.
These changes apply to anyone who makes or sells e-cigarettes and e-liquids, including those who brew e-liquids at home and sell online. People who don’t comply with the new rules could face imprisonment of up to two years and/or an unlimited fine.
What impact will this have on vaping?
These new regulations are seen by some as a positive step – meaning the quality of vaping products can be trusted and people who’re looking to quit smoking and start vaping will be assured their new equipment is safe and fit for purpose.
However, some ex-smokers rely on vaping nicotine strengths that are higher than the new limit of 20mg/ml and there are fears that these people may return to smoking if they can’t get access to e-liquids which satisfy their cravings.
There are also concerns that the new restrictions mean vaping shops and stalls will be forced to close thanks to the massive reduction in product offering. The changes have caused a lot of unnecessary headaches for suppliers who have to change bottle sizes, tank capacity and e-liquid strength whilst keeping their customers happy.
Research shows that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco and help reduce the number of tobacco-related deaths, they are clearly effective in helping people to quit smoking. Hopefully the new regulations will achieve their goals of making vaping products safer without deterring smokers from using vaping as a smoking cessation method – only time will tell!