In recent times we have seen the introduction of a number of regulations around the sale and use of vaping products, most notably in the UK and the USA.
Just as there persists a great deal of misinformation about e-cigarettes among the non-vaping community, there is also a fair amount of confusion and fear among vapers as to what these new regulations mean for them. Will access to vaping products be limited? Will we still be able to vape when and where we want to?
In this article we look at the laws and regulations around vaping and e-cigarettes which are currently in force in the UK and the US. We will also examine what we can expect to see introduced in the future, and whether these should be a cause for concern among vapers.
A Brief History of Official Attitudes Towards Vaping
When e-cigarettes were first introduced commercially into the UK and the US in the mid-2000’s this caused not inconsiderable alarm in wider society. Some people raised concerns over the possible long term health effects of vaping: a reasonable concern, really, as the product was new and largely untested t this point. It is also highly possible that some of the anti-vaping fear that was being spread came from the powerful tobacco lobby, which was likely threatened by the potential of e-
cigarettes to take over the market.
As the years went on, and vaping became increasingly popular, more research was conducted into the health effects of e-cigarettes, and the levels of damage in comparison to tobacco products. This research has consistently found that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and no evidence of long-term health effects of vaping are being released all the time which show that e-cigarettes are much less harmful compared to smoking cigarettes. Furthermore, official bodies, particularly in the UK, have recommended the use of e-cigarettes as a tool to help smokers quit.
However, this scientific evidence was not fully reflected in the actions of US and UK legislators, who proceeded to tighten up regulations in both countries.
Current VapingRegulations in the UK.
In 2016, the UK introduced the Tobacco Products Directive, a comprehensive set of regulations for vaping products. These rules came into effect on May 2017. They cover things such as limits on the capacity of e-cigarettes and e-liquid refill containers, the maximum allowable nicotine strength of e-liquids and requirements for packaging, labelling and warnings.
Per the UK Government, TPD regulations are designed to ensure minimum standards of safety and quality of all vaping products sold in the UK, as well as giving consumers the maximum amount of information. The laws are also aimed to discouraging minors from starting a nicotine habit thanks to e-cigarettes. This means that quality products such as Heisenberg e liquid have no need to be
concerned, whereas cheaper brands which do not comply with regulations could be in trouble. All of this has not meant too many hardships on UK vapers, however. There are still a variety of vaping mods which can legally be bought in the UK.
Current Vaping Regulations in the US
Across the Atlantic, law makers in the US have taken a rather stricter approach to vaping and vaping products. Responsibility for this area was brought under Federal jurisdiction in 2016, with the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) having authority over e-cigarettes and vaping products. The FDA then proceeded to introduce restrictions on advertising, labelling and tougher controls to stop minors from buying vaping products. These included laws which stated that e-cigarettes could not be advertised as safer than tobacco products unless they were given (the as yet unused) “modified risk tobacco product” (MRTP) status. Further restrictions were introduced in 2018, notably on the packaging of e-liquids so as to make sure they did not appeal to children.
The launch of Juul e-cigarette and pods in 2015 increased already existing concerns that vaping could encourage teenagers and young people to start smoking. This very popular and stylish product has been seen as too attractive to minors, encouraging them to take up the habit.
Growing concerns over teen vaping means we are likely to see tighter controls aimed to stop minors from using e-cigarettes. Pax JUUL themselves have indicated they are working on technology which could include age authentication features on their devices, effectively preventing minors from vaping.
So, Should Vapers Be Afraid of these Regulations?
In a word, no.
Laws in the UK are aimed at better regulating vendors and products, and in general are not restricting vapers from accessing products. In fact, these regulations mean that consumers can have greater confidence in the products they buy within the UK.
In the US, the rising concern and pressure from lobby groups is largely focused on the potential for teens and children using e-cigarettes. This means that although we can expect to see measures to prevent minors from buying vaping products and perhaps even age-limitation technology on devices themselves, these are unlikely to impact greatly on legal, adult vapers. However, various factors do mean that we should expect for a rise in the price of many vaping products.