A British lawyer and engineer has warned manufacturers of nicotine-free e-liquid they still need to comply with legislation concerning the quality of liquids.
So-called short-fill e-liquids have become popular since the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) was implemented in May 2016.
Bottles of nicotine-free liquid with a small gap at the top for a “shot” of liquid nicotine to be mixed in, they were introduced as a way around TPD legislation, under which e-liquid containing nicotine cannot be sold in bottles larger than 10 ml.
However, the zero-nicotine liquid is still subject to the 2005 General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR), meaning short-fill bottles – sometimes referred to as shake and vape products – should still be manufactured to the highest standards.
A report by British solicitor Dai Davies, commissioned by TPD testing firm Adact, said both manufacturers and distributors needed to be aware of this.
In his report he says: “The ‘reasonable expectations of consumers’ would indicate that the standards for the usual e-cigarette liquids should be applied even for short-fills.
“Since the state-of-the-art technology easily allows the application of standards for the usual e-cigarette liquids to be applied for short-fills, that further indicates that they should be applied.”
Davies, who is also a chartered engineer, adds: “The producer commits a criminal offence where it places an unsafe product on the market. However, the distributor must not sell, or advertise for sale, a product which he knows, or ought to have known, is not a safe product.
“A distributor would be well advised to seek assurances from the manufacturer on these issues.”
Anyone caught either making or supplying an unsafe e-liquid can be fined £20,000 and jailed for three months.
However, the popularity of short-fill has not made the TPD’s container size restrictions irrelevant.
Adact’s managing director, Robert Sidebottom, who read excerpts from ECigIntelligence’s coverage in Vapouround magazine, said: “TPD is still going strong, in our experience. Looking at some of our customers, we can see that TPD-compliant products are selling, and selling well.
“This backs up what is said in ECigIntelligence’s article in Vapouround.”
What This Means: Just because it does not have nicotine in it, that does not mean e-liquid is not subject to strict regulation. And just as manufacturers need to follow the rules, shops should be careful too.
While the initial legislation was seen by many as a sop by the EU to Big Tobacco, the TPD has changed things, in many ways for the better. Vapers should not have to worry about the possibility of potentially dangerous additives in their e-liquids.
And regular pre-mixed e-liquids continue to be popular – showing that shake and vape is not the be-all and end-all for the industry.
Short highlights of selected ECigIntelligence coverage are available to readers of Vapouround in the UK as part of a new media partnership.
– Peter Henn ECigIntelligence contributing writer
Photo: José Manuel Suárez