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Could E-Cigarettes Land You in Legal Trouble?

As vaping laws change around the world it’s important for vapers and vape product retailers to understand the laws, whether we like them or not. Though things are looking up in America for the future of vaping, and some other countries like England are already ahead of the game when it comes to vaping acceptance, there are still restrictions on where you can vape, what you can purchase and what you can sell. Some countries’ laws are getting tougher, and some violations of e-cigarette laws can lead to pretty stiff penalties.

The United Kingdom is set to impose several new e-cigarette laws on May 20. Most of these laws involve e-liquid and how much can be packaged and sold in one bottle. The laws appear to be aimed at reducing non-smokers’ exposure to e-liquid, as they came about in part after a sting operation that concluded that e-cigarettes are being sold to both smokers and non-smokers alike. The law will only allow a maximum of 10 milliliter bottles of e-liquid to be sold. 30 ml bottles are very common now, but after May 20 they will be illegal in the UK. In addition, no e-liquid will be allowed to contain nicotine in a concentration higher than 20 mg per liter. This will force much currently available e-liquid off the market.

UK vapers will also have to say goodbye to big tanks for their liquid. The maximum size tank allowed will be 2 ml. Caffeine will no longer be a allowed in e-liquid, and safety warnings on labels will be required. Finally, all e-cigarettes will have to be registered with the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products regulatory agency.

These laws are likely to raise prices, either for retailers or customers, or possibly both. Violators of the e-cigarette laws could wind up in prison for up to two years.

In Australia, three vaping companies have been fined a total of almost $200,000 (AUD) for misleading advertising with regards to health and safety claims. Joystick, Elusions and Social-Lites stated in advertising that their products contain no carcinogens, but it was discovered that they do indeed contain carcinogens including Formaldehyde and Acetaldehyde. The definition of “carcinogen” comes from the World Health Organization, even though Acetaldehyde is only class 2 B or “possibly” carcinogenic to humans. Since the ruling, two of the companies have changed their websites to mention the findings and declare that these ingredients are in their e-cigarettes. The third company, Joystick, appears to have removed its web page.

In the United States a man is going to prison for selling e-cigarettes illegally. The sheriff of Rutherford County in Tennessee set up an illegal operation to sell e-cigarettes to prison inmates. The e-cigarettes were being sold to inmates in several jails, with the jails being paid $5 by the sheriff for every e-cigarette sold. The sheriff and his uncle, who came up with the plan and called their company JailCigs, eventually sensed trouble and attempted to cover up their involvement, but were finally exposed. The uncle has yet to be sentenced, but the sheriff received a four-year prison sentence on Federal corruption charges.

All of these cases should serve as a reminder that you should first and foremost know the laws about e-cigarettes and vaping. And when disagreeing with a law, challenge it by legal means, but obey it while it still stands.

Electronic Cigarettes • June 15, 2017

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