UK Vaping Laws vs US Vaping Laws


Vaping might have found a community quickly but the fast rise of e-cigarettes means that laws and regulations around the sector can feel like they’re constantly changing. Between different countries the legislation varies hugely and with the UK overhauling its view on vaping, the US might be just behind in implementing more stringent controls too.

As part of incoming regulations that covered tobacco and related products, a number of changes were made to the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids in the UK, coming into force in May. But how do they stack up against existing US laws and what affect could they have on the industry, businesses, and vapers themselves?

Among the changes that are now in force across the UK are:

All e-cigs and e-liquids must be registered with the MHRA

Before any e-cigarette or e-liquid can be sold in the UK it will now have to be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. This addition means there’s going to be greater scrutiny in what’s contained in every product, aiming to boost transparency and oversight.

The US has already incorporated a similar process, although the rules have yet to fully come in, with vaping products having to be registered with the Food and Drink Administration. It’s an issue that effects manufacturers more than vapers but it could limit the amount of choice on the market initially. Of course, on the plus side you’ll know that your products meet a basic set of regulations at the very least.

E-cigarette tank capacity limit

This one certainly hasn’t been reflected in the US yet and will have an impact on vapers across the UK. Refillable tanks for e-cigarettes now being sold must be no bigger than 2ml in capacity – limiting the amount of e-liquid that can be stored at any time. It means that tanks will need to be refilled more frequently and those against the move have argued it’s a step that aims to discourage vaping.

E-liquid quantities limited

If you like to buy large quantities of your favourite e-liquid, this one might affect you. In the UK retailers are no longer allowed to sell e-juice in capacities over 10ml. Of course, you can buy multiple smaller bottles of the same e-liquid but it might mean more hassle, especially if your chosen retailer only holds a limited amount of stock. At the moment, there aren’t regulations like this in place across the US and there haven’t been any indications that they will be coming in.

Nicotine strength capped at 20mg/nl

The maximum nicotine strength of UK e-liquids is being reduced to 20mg/nl, although there will be some higher strengths available if the product is registered as a medicine. For heavy smokers that are considering switching to e-cigs this does present an issue. The changes might even put off those that rely on higher levels to satisfy their cravings for making the switch. While it’s not been a move that the US has done yet, it could be one that will affect the industry eventually as more regulations come into play.

Nicotine product packaging must be child-resistant and tamper evident

We can certainly see this move being transferred to the US eventually. One of the key concerns of vaping focuses on children and the safety of vaping products. In the UK, all packaging for nicotine products, including e-liquids, will need to have child resistant caps that are also tamper evident and leak proof.

While this change might cause manufacturers a bit of a headache it’s not going to affect the vaping community and it could actually improve the perception of e-cigs.

New labelling requirements

Bringing e-liquids into line with other nicotine products, they will now have to include a health warning on the packaging in the UK. E-juice that contains nicotine will have to clearly state that the substance is highly addictive. The US already requires health warnings to appear on the packaging of tobacco products so it’s not farfetched to see this move coming across the pond at some point.

The banning of certain ingredients

Certain ingredients are also being banned from e-liquids in the UK, among them are colourings, caffeine, and taurine. As yet, it’s not hit the US but with FDA oversight forthcoming it’s not a stretch to imagine that banned ingredients could soon be implemented here too.

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