Legal uncertainties are cramping the vaping industry worldwide, says Relx

Recent changes in regulatory approach in some big vaping markets, uncertainty over new approaches to tobacco alternatives in some territories, and the rise in compatible products are major current challenges for big players in the e-cigarette industry.

Among those is the manufacturer Relx International, which has seen a recent increase in governments’ attention to electronic cigarettes.

“Sometimes it gets a bit challenging in terms of ensuring that we are compliant with the different regulations,” Jonathan Ng (pictured), global head of external affairs for Relx International, told ECiginIntelligence.

Ng, who will speak this Wednesday at the online event ENDS Europe, says some markets, such as Canada, are “getting a bit darker” for his company.

The sister company of Chinese Rlx Technology is looking very closely at the latest regulatory developments, not only at provincial level in Canada but also the upcoming revision of the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

Europe is one of the markets that Relx is looking at very closely for a potential further rollout of its portfolio once the new version of the TPD comes to light.


The problem of ‘compatible’ products


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    The new draft amendment to China’s Tobacco Monopoly Law that would regulate tobacco-alternative products, including e-cigarettes, as traditional tobacco could also shake up the industry worldwide. “If there is a government regulation coming from China, it may impact in other markets,” Ng agreed.

    And he warned about a “lack of social responsibility” shown by some manufacturers, who are placing cheap products on the market claiming that they are compatible with Relx.

    “They claim their pods are compatible with our devices and this issue becomes a big concern for us,” he said.

    Relx has detected a high presence of such “compatible” products on e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand. The manufacturer is aiming to work with regulators and customs officials around the world to put a stop to these products.

    Prevention of youth vaping something “very close to our hearts,” according to Ng  is also a priority for the industry and is the topic he will address in his speech to ENDS Europe.

    He is convinced that the age verification system for e-commerce is working and said more than 90% of people who had attempted to buy a Relx product in the UK had successfully passed the process.


    What This Means: While varied legal hurdles can sometimes prove challenging for the e-cigarette industry, a priority for Relx is to “expand quickly” into more territories as soon as the regulatory environment becomes clear.

    But it is yet to be seen how the upcoming regulatory approach in big markets such as Europe may affect the manufacturer’s future strategy.

    ECigIntelligence staff

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    This article was written by one of ECigIntelligence’s international correspondents. We currently employ more than 40 reporters around the world to cover individual vaping markets. For a full list, please see our Who We Are page.

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