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E-Cigarette Laws Change in Britain for the Worse

The atmosphere for vaping in Britain has generally been far more positive than it is in the United States, ever since the Royal College of Physicians declared that vaping is at least 95 percent safer than smoking. But now another British organization has done an undercover operation that has resulted in a step backwards for vaping and adult consumer freedom.

The Royal Society for Public Health took it upon itself to investigate the possibility that adults who have never smoked might be choosing to vape. The undercover operation discovered that 9 out of 10 vape shops “are willing to sell e-cigarettes to non-smokers.” The RSPH, which does support e-cigarettes as a means for smokers to quit smoking, is of the opinion that adults who do not smoke and never did should not be using e-cigarettes. While this is the view of most people in the vaping industry, RSPH seems to think it is so important that they have now pushed freedom of choice a step backwards, and smokers who want to use vaping to quit smoking are going to have to take that step backwards as well.

British law is now going to change because of the RSPH sting operation. After May 20th, e-liquid in the UK will only be available in 10 ml bottles. In addition, no e-liquid can have a strength of more than 20mg/ml of nicotine, refillable tanks cannot hold more than 2ml and all e-cigarettes and e-liquid must be registered before being sold.

All of these rules could cause the price of e-liquid to rise. Many vape companies have already spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” preparing for the testing necessary to get their products registered, according to the Independent British Vape Trade Association. But IBVTA chief executive Richard Hyslop says that companies are hoping they won’t have to pass on the costs to customers, though it may be inevitable that many will have to do just that.

Some other parts of the new law are common-sense measures like child-proof caps and labeling requirements. Certain additives in e-liquid will be banned, including caffeine and coloring. The limits on bottle size, tank size and nicotine amounts would appear to be aimed at preventing overdose or poisoning. The most worrisome new requirement is the registration with Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. This seems to parallel the costly requirement that is set to hit U.S. vape suppliers if current FDA rules are not altered. Forcing small businesses in the vaping industry to spend extraordinary amounts of money in order to be able to sell their products is the thing that could wipe these smaller businesses out, limit consumer choice and leave the wealthy tobacco companies in control of the vaping industry.

Electronic Cigarettes • June 15, 2017

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