Changes For Vaping in the UK: 2021
Things have been very stable in the world of vaping for a number of years, but this is changing during the course of 2021. The ones that have been planned are welcomed and will maintain confidence in vape and eliquid products, but things are happening behind the scenes that might have a negative impact on British vapers.
The trade organisations, some UK vape shops, eliquid manufacturers, and public health bodies voiced their concerns about shortfill eliquids when they were introduced. Being nicotine-free, they didn’t have to undergo testing or be registered with the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
This situation is going to be addressed as part of The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations to be introduced before the end of the year. A likely result of this will be the delisting of some brands by some stores and a slight increase in price to cover the cost of product registration.
Any increased cost from new legislation could be more than offset if the government chooses to listen to one of the UK’s trade bodies. It’s director, John Dunne has called on ministers to bring the VAT applied to vape products (20%) in line with the VAT rate that traditional nicotine replacement therapies such as gums and patches enjoy (5%).
Although this is attractive to consumers, and would make vaping more appealing to current smokers, as it would mean a price drop, it is still 50/50 as to whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer is prepared to implement the change.
Disposable vapes occupied a grey area until last week. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has updated its guidance to clarify to manufacturers, distributors and UK vape stores of what can legally be sold in shops and online portals.
The new guidance says: “When sourcing new supplies of any e-cigarette or e-liquid product, check that a compliant notification has been published in one of the Notified Product lists.
“If you cannot find the product on the MHRA’s website, ask your supplier to confirm that it has been published and provide details to enable you to confirm the product’s status. If a product has yet to achieve publication status, they may not supply it to you.”
Flavours and plain packaging
While the UK leads the world in its approach to tobacco harm reduction, there are some who are attempting to sway the government into adopting a tougher approach.
Reports have come to light that discussions have been taking place in the Department of Health to consider restricting the flavours of eliquids to menthol and tobacco. The claim is that fruit, pastry, and other flavours “appeal to young people”.
The New Nicotine Alliance, a charity working on behalf of vapers and other nicotine consumers, is currently speaking to one of the main bodies behind the call to limit flavours and have plain packaging. It has also written to the Department to stress the importance of continuing with an approach that appeals to current and former smokers.