The UK Department of Health is running an open consultation on the practical changes that will affect the tobacco and e-cigarette industries if the UK leaves the EU with no deal with Brussels, especially those affecting the notification of vaping products and e-liquids and labelling.
The consultation, open until 21st October, is to get feedback from vaping companies and businesses on government plans for a new domestic system in case the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place.
“We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and UK to strike a deal. That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved. Nevertheless, we recognise the need to have clear plans in place for no deal,” the ministry says on its website.
The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 – the British legislation currently implementing both directives – will remain in force but with some amendments “to ensure it still works effectively after EU exit”.
The Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 set out government plans for a new domestic system to allow producers to notify e-cigarettes in accordance with existing rules in the event of a “no deal” departure from the EU.
European copyright on warning images
One of the prime concerns for the industry is what will happen about e-cigarettes and e-liquids that have already been submitted to the EU Common Entry Gateway (EU-CEG).
The UK government’s proposal is that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will continue to accept notifications in the same format as at present.
The plan is to continue recognising submitter IDs issued by the European Commission (including those issued after the UK exits the EU) but notifiers will be required to provide details of a responsible UK party. There will be no need of re-notification for products that were notified before the UK’s departure from the EU.
The government last month updated its guidance for businesses on what would happen with EU directives and regulations if there is no Brexit deal.
According to the document, one of the main implications of a no-agreement Brexit will be on the new picture warnings for tobacco products. The European Commission owns the rights on those images and manufacturers will need to ensure from Brexit day – now less than six months away – that their products are labelled with the new pictures that will be provided.
What This Means: With this public consultation, the UK authorities want to hear the opinion and views of UK industry and vaping manufacturers with regard to Brexit.
The government intends to keep the same structure for the notification process for vaping products, but other issues, such as labelling, could become a real concern for manufacturers.
The next few months – and the result of the negotiations between Westminster and Brussels – will clarify how the vaping industry will face a future that is rapidly approaching. For the moment, the Department of Health is at least making clear its path for a no-deal scenario.
– David Palacios ECigIntelligence staff
Photo: Norlando Pobre