As of late last month, vaping in the UK is now regulated in a manner similar to tobacco. This despite growing evidence indicating e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. For those on the selling side of the aisle, these changes amount to logistical and legal headaches going forward, not to mention potential harm to sales. For those on the buyer’s side, the new regulations add up to inconvenience but little more.
E-cigarette buyers and sellers caught off-guard by news of these changes need not fret - here is what you need to know:
The new vape restrictions most noticeable are those involving size limits. E-juice bottles over 10mL in size can no longer be legally sold without proper registration (see below). Whereas e-cigarette users were formerly able to buy 30ml e-juice bottles and even 100mL ones as well, such quantities are no longer available in the UK. This creates a particularly difficult challenge for mail order e-juice suppliers, such as Zamplebox, who specialize in 15ml bottles, just over the legal size. If UK demand for their services continues, such companies may consider altering operations to sell the smaller bottles. However, time will tell if this is a viable solution.
In addition to bottle size, the maximum quantity of nicotine per e-juice bottle has also been clamped down by the new laws. While it’s not uncommon to see e-juice advertised online with a nicotine content over 20mg/ml, these ultra-infused juices are no longer available for legal sale within the UK. 20mg/ml is now the maximum nicotine content allowed for any individual bottle of e-juice. While manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers will no doubt need to account for this restriction, the vast majority of e-juice sold online and in stores is well below the 20mg/ml limit. The strain of this change may fall mostly on the buyer side, as the minority used to higher doses of nicotine per hit will need to adjust their habit accordingly.
Lastly, vape devices themselves are under new scrutiny, particularly their e-juice holding tanks, which are capped at 2ml for a single unit. This, of course, adds up to many vaping enthusiasts in the UK at risk of having their e-cigarette confiscated if refusing to buy a new model, as well as the need to refill the tanks more often.
Resistant, Restrictions, and Registration
One of the major selling points of vape, in addition to being healthier than tobacco, is the ability to infuse e-juice with an almost endless variety of flavours and ingredients. However, any e-juice sold in the UK is now subject to restrictions on these additives. Mainly, artificial colour, caffeine, and taurine are no longer to be ingredients in any vape juice sold in the UK. Fortunately for many, this leaves alone the fruity and sweets-based flavours enjoyed by the majority of vape users. However - and this is pure speculation - one has to wonder if these more innocent additives will be considered too tempting to children and be outlawed as well?
Speaking of children, the next big change to vape in the UK is the requirement for all e-juice bottles and devices to be tamper-resistant in an effort to keep those underage from either accidentally or intentionally consuming e-liquid or vape. This will no doubt be another major hurdle faced by established vape product suppliers in the coming months, as existing products will likely require modification in order to be sold throughout the UK.
Finally, several of the aforementioned restrictions can be lifted - if one has the proper medical registration. In short, any e-juice containing caffeine and/or ultra-high nicotine content or sold in quantities larger than 10ml bottles will need to be defined as medication by a physician on record. Easier said than done in most cases, but it’s possible doctors will identify e-juice as a medication considering it serves as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products.
New regulations on e-cigarettes and e-juice stand to affect nearly 3 million vapers living in the UK as of 2017. In addition, these laws certainly throw a wrench into the works for the many vape product makers, suppliers, and sellers out there. However, like life itself, habits and business tend to find a way to keep going forward.