If you manufacture e-liquids then there are two main reasons why you might want to get them chemically analysed for potentially harmful compounds:
- The law says that you must do so.
- You want to ensure that your e-liquids are not harmful to health.
In the UK, it is the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/507) which says you must have your e-liquids analysed and tested.
This became law on May 20, 2016 and is the UK legislation which gives effect to the EU Tobacco Products Directive which, controversially, applies to e-liquids and vaping devices even though these are clearly not tobacco products.
While many manufacturers are highly critical of the TPD they are responsible people and will comply with the law rather than risk court action, fines or other sanctions.
But what if there wasn’t a TPD? At the time of writing there are moves in the House of Lords to overturn the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations. If successful, there would be no legal mechanism to enforce the TPD in the UK.
Additionally, should the forthcoming EU Referendum vote to leave the European Union, there may be no effective way of compelling the UK to enforce the TPD at all if the 2016 Regulations had been successfully overturned.
So if there was no TPD then if manufacturers disagreed with limiting e-liquid bottle sizes to 10ml they could sell larger bottles without any sanction at all. If they saw a demand for nicotine levels in excess of 20mg/mL then they could manufacture higher strength e-liquids and so on for all the TPD vaping requirements.
But what about product testing? Where would you stand on that?
It can be argued that the requirements for chemical analysis as imposed by the TPD are one of the most controversial requirements of the new legislation – they can certainly be very costly, especially for manufacturers with hundreds of different juice lines.
But these are also the parts of the legislation which perhaps make the most sense. Cigarettes are downright dangerous to our health – we know that and almost everyone accepts this to be true.
Most flavour combinations used in e-liquids can be shown – by chemical analysis – to be free from known compounds which are potentially harmful to human health, while a few combinations could potentially be harmful when vaped.
If you manufacture e-liquids then, regardless of whether the TPD applies to you or not, you must surely want to know if your products are potentially harmful.
That must be the only responsible position to take in an industry where lives are undoubtedly being saved by helping smokers switch to vaping.
Most people reading this blog will be aware of the Public Health England report which concluded that vaping was 95 per cent safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. So with a product which has the potential to do so much good it seems nonsensical to gamble that untested flavour combinations would be safe to use.
Surely it is far better to be able to shout from the rooftops that your product was shown to be free from harmful compounds?
But let’s say that a manufacturer does decide not to bother getting new liquids tested. If they turn out to be safe after all then they have saved a bit of money and no harm has been done.
However, if those untested liquids do contain potentially harmful compounds and people get sick from using them (maybe several years down the line) then the manufacturers would be at risk of very costly legal action for harming their consumers.
Remember also that product manufacturers and suppliers have a duty under British common law to take all reasonable steps to protect the end users from harm. This applies regardless of whether the TPD or Tobacco and Related Products Regulations are in force or not.
Not knowing whether your e-liquids are actually safe is an unnecessary gamble with the health of your end users for which both you and your customers could ultimately pay a very heavy price.
Vaping is at least 95 per cent safer than using traditional cigarettes – let’s do all in our power keep it that way – TPD or no TPD.