The U.K. Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) is calling for tough action against resellers of noncompliant disposable vape products.
During an investigation, the trade group found that there are significant numbers of noncompliant products entering the U.K. and being sold in particular by convenience shops and on major online marketplaces.
“We are calling upon regulators and the online marketplaces to robustly enforce current regulations and do much more in order to ‘clean up’ the disposable vapes market,” said John Dunne, director general at the UKVIA, in a statement.
The disposable vape sector has enjoyed a significant revival in recent years, appealing as an entry point for adult smokers looking to quit conventional cigarettes. However, an investigation by the UKVIA has identified that illegal products are re-entering the U.K. market. The problem, according to the group, lies with some distributors who are flouting U.K. regulations and managing to get these products imported into the country and sell them onto traders and retailers; as well as a lack of proper scrutiny on major online marketplaces.
Disposable vapes are pre-filled with e-liquids and cost around £6 ($8.27) each. U.K. regulations stipulate that they should contain no more than 20mg/ml of nicotine, yet evidence collected by the UKVIA reveals that some listed as this amount contain higher concentrations of nicotine and some products are being openly sold with 50mg/ml strength. Furthermore, product packaging is often missing warnings about the nicotine content, which is a legal requirement.
The UKVIA has been in discussions with the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates vape products and trading standards, to address the situation. In a major crackdown on unscrupulous suppliers, the association is providing guidance on official distributors and disposable vape products to its members as well as looking at the idea of licensing vape shops to fund enforcement. It’s also working with manufacturers of disposable vapes to ensure they are doing all that is possible to monitor and audit their distributors.
“Robust enforcement of the current regulations is the only answer and it’s needed now,” said Dunne. “We can provide support to the regulators and educate the industry on how to distinguish between what’s a compliant product or not; and we are in the process of doing this. However, we are not in a position to come down heavy on those breaking the law; that lies with the regulators.
“The vaping sector’s reputation, that the industry has taken years to build up, and which has made it one of the most successful business markets in the 21st century to date, is being threatened by a minority intent on making a quick buck out of a popular product, and we will not stand back and just watch it happen. Disposables have a major role to play in the vape market, but like all products they need to adhere to the legislation.”