Just as taste varies from person to person, people who support the idea of switching to vaping vary in what they think is acceptable. Disagreement exists over the regulation of brand names, the design of UK eliquid packaging, and what flavours you should be able to buy in your regular and premium vape liquid. With this diversity in opinion, what is the future for flavoured e-liquid in the UK?
What laws currently govern the eliquid that UK vape shops sell?
UK vape juice has to meet exacting standards as set down by the Government. Bottles of UK vape liquid that contain nicotine are limited to a maximum volume of 10ml and a maximum nicotine concentration of 20mg/ml. Each brand has to undergo extensive testing and then be registered with The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.
The packaging provided by UK vape shops for the eliquid must contain product and warning information.
What positive changes to restrictions to vaping would some people like to see?
Due to leaving the European Union, some in the industry, some politicians, and vape advocates have been calling for UK e-liquid to be able to be sold in larger bottles to help reduce plastic waste. Also, they are pushing for higher nicotine concentrations so more smokers can find the switch to vaping easier.
What negative changes to UK vape laws are some calling for?
People claiming to want to protect children have said that there should be laws against using cartoon images on the packaging and a restriction placed on the kind of names e-liquid sold by UK vape shops can use.
Some of them, like Deborah Arnott from Action on Smoking and Health, are telling politicians that there should be no change to the nicotine content of bottles and that nobody needs UK vape juice supplied in bottles larger than 10 millilitres.
She has also argued that flavours should be restricted to just tobacco and menthol flavours.
Do any of these people have any influence on vaping laws?
Yes. Action on Smoking and Health provides the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking & Health. These politicians tend to believe in the tight regulation of UK e-liquid and listed to what Action on Smoking and Health says.
On the other hand, the politicians on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping are more open to independent evidence and feel further restrictions would jeopardise the advances made through helping smokers to switch from smoking to safer nicotine products like vaping.
What does the evidence say about vaping?
Action on Smoking and Health’s own research shows there is no problem with teens taking up vaping. Also, it shows the main reason some do try it has little to do with the availability of UK vape liquid flavours or advertising.
Other recent evidence points to children who have experimented with it stopping afterwards as it was just a fad.
Research published in this month’s Nicotine & Tobacco Research shows that restricting the flavours of budget and premium vape liquid would only show benefit in those who rarely vape, adding that it would have a negative impact on adult ex-smokers who have successfully switched.
Will we see eliquid flavours banned?
It is highly unlikely at this moment in time. You will be able to buy your preferred vape liquid from your favourite vape shop for some time to come.