UK Vaping Laws: What Does It All Mean?

Aug 09, 2017

New UK vaping laws came into practice on 20th May 2017 and here at AYR HQ we are all about keeping you educated and informed about changes within the vaping community.

So what are these changes and how do they impact you?

EU legislation now officially categorised e-cigarettes and e-liquids as ‘tobacco-related’ products and those in charge have ruled accordingly.

Needless to say, these new laws have caused quite the stir among the vaping community.  


Well, for a start, a lot of vapers, in fact the entire the vaping industry, have had to completely overhaul how they produce, market and purchase their vaping products. 

Here is what you need to know:

Ban on advertising

Did you notice that a few months ago your surroundings suddenly became an e-cig-free zone where there had been a plethora of advertising previously? Well, this is due to changes in UK advertising laws which decree that you are no longer able to advertise any e-cigarette product that isn’t classified as medical in most media channels. There are some exceptions and these are:

  • Outdoor posters and on sides of buses (on buses not travelling outside of the UK)
  • Cinema
  • Fax (remember those?)
  • Leaflets
  • Direct hard copy mail
  • Blogs, social mentions and unsolicited reviews
  • E-cigarette trade press publications

Advertisers are also not allowed to align the products with smoking cessation or any health or medical benefits in their messaging.

Restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml

You can still retain and use any previously purchased devices but this does mean that e-cigarette tanks are now going to be smaller, thus increasing the need for regular refills and creating the burden of users always having to carry bottles of e-liquid around with them.  

Members of the vaping community have expressed concern that this could become a barrier for smokers making the switch to vaping during the delicate transitional early stages of the switch.

“If you are continuing to have to refill, it’s annoying that you now have to carry more stuff with you,” says  Richard Hyslop, chief executive of the Independent British Vape Trade Association, “If you’re looking at vaping compared to smoking, with smoking you just take a cigarette out of the packet and light it. With vaping you’ve got to have all this kit and keep refilling because the tank’s so small and the bottle size is so much smaller.

We’ve all been caught short without our vape supplies at some point during our switch-over journey and been tempted to pinch a cigarette (and in some case, fallen off the wagon - guilty!) So it’s a fair point to consider.

Restrict the maximum volume of e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml

You are, however, permitted to buy as many 10ml e-liquid bottles in one go as you wish. A fact which many vapers have pointed out is a huge flaw in the reasoning behind the law. This also means that users can no longer buy in bulk the larger e juice flavours which are usually less expensive per ml than their smaller counterparts.

Restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml

Formerly, people making the transition from smoking cigarettes to vapes could purchase e-liquids containing much higher nicotine levels, making the switch from smoking to vaping much easier for the user. Vaping support groups have pointed out that this could prevent smokers who are tempted from successfully making the transition long-term if their dependency is too strong.

Ban certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine

This means certain users’ favourite e-juices with added vitamins are now banned. Manufacturers have also been instructed to be completely transparent on their E-liquids ingredients.

Safety measures which include new labelling requirements and warnings

This includes listing all of the product’s ingredients, health risks and potential side effects and for all nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident.

Require e-cigarettes and e-liquids be notified to health regulators before they can be sold

This means submitting a technical spec to a screening body for approval. This may not be such an issue for device creators but could impact those companies who produce the e-juice flavours, as delays can prevent manufacturers from testing new flavours, especially at a much lower cost per sale. Some critics have commented that this will reduce the types of flavours available to e-cigarette users. 

Let the AYR team know about your views on the recent changes in the law and continue the conversation over on the AYR social channels.


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