What is the UKVIA hoping to achieve?

UKVIA aims to help highlight the benefits of vaping to the wider public. We have an opportunity to fund scientific studies which will examine the potential benefits of vaping products, in particular their potential to positively impact public health.

Furthermore, we want to be the voice of the industry and promote vaping products as a means of tobacco harm reduction and encourage proportional regulation. We want to help make our products safer and encourage smokers to convert to vaping as an alternative to traditional tobacco.

We aim to protect the interests of vaping consumers and the vaping industry, by advising on and shaping sensible policy and regulation. Through the provision of credible knowledge and guidance, UKVIA supports the independent vape trade and promotes constructive interaction between the industry sector and the scientific community, vapers, policy makers, and the general public.

Who are the UKVIA members?

UKVIA is made up of 13 founding members, with varying shares of the vaping market both in terms of production and retail. All members have equal voting rights in the future direction of the Association. Based in the heart of Westminster, UKVIA aims to be the leading voice of the industry and will campaign to ensure sound, evidence-based regulation of vaping products, and that the vaping sector is understood by policy makers.

As the largest trade association in the vapour industry in the UK, we are committed to its continued growth and expansion. We represent the interest of the supply chain, including manufacturers, online retailers, distributors, importers and wholesalers.

Details about how to become a member can be found within member benefits.

How is UKVIA different from other industry groups?

UKVIA has been established to support all parts of the vaping industry, and aims to represent all responsible and ethical vaping businesses in the UK, irrespective of the size of their companies and operations. This gives us a unique insight and expertise into the UK Vaping Industry. Our collective expertise can help to address the immediate challenges facing this sector, following the latest interpretation of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). As the UK moves towards leaving the EU the regulatory climate will inevitably have to change in the UK. This presents a great opportunity to get the regulatory framework right and to recognise that vaping is not smoking.

Are vaping products regulated?

Yes. The first EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) was released back in 2001. Its main goal was to reduce tobacco usage across Europe especially for the younger generation.

The newly revised TPD, which came into force on the 20th May 2016, proposes to regulate vaping technologies as a tobacco related product. These new rules, which have been implemented across EU member states, specify how tobacco related products (including vaping) can be sold, presented and manufactured. Under the legislation, manufacturers are also required to notify government bodies about new products six months before they are launched. In addition, the selling of vaping devices or refills to under-18s is banned under separate UK domestic law.

EU directives that apply to vaping products:

Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU

  • General Product Safety Directive (2001) (as amended in 2004)
  • Dangerous Substances Directive (as adapted) (2001)
  • Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation (EC) No. 1272/20085
  • Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006
  • Low Voltage Directive (2006)
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (2004)
  • RoHS2 (2011)
  • Weights & Measures: Directive 2007/45/EC laying down rules on nominal quantities for prepacked products (2007)
  • Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2012)
  • Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (1994) as amended by Commission Directive 2013/2/EU, amending Annex I to Directive 94/62/EC
  • Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations (2002)
  • Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts (1997)
  • Distance Selling Directive (1997)
  • Comparative and Misleading Marketing Directive (2006) (MCAD)

What is UKVIA doing to address these issues and concerns?

We want to tighten manufacturing and product standards. We believe that, with a stronger collective voice of the independent industry, we can continue to influence the UK government to do its best to implement the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and any future regulations, so that they are achievable, but also addresses the legitimate concerns about quality and safety standards.

Therefore, it is more important than ever for legislation and guidance around vaping products to be based on evidence and rigorous scientific research. Industry and regulators working closely together are a necessary requirement to achieve that goal.

UKVIA is a passionate advocate for quality and standards in the vaping industry, and will decide on how we respond to TPD, when there is sufficient detail to respond to.

Will the use of vaping renormalise smoking behaviour and provide a gateway into smoking?

Some regulators have expressed fears that vaping products could act as a ‘gateway’ to tobacco use among non-smokers, or that vaping could ‘renormalise’ the act of smoking. UKVIA does not believe these fears are justified, primarily because the statistics to-date do not support the suggestion that non-smokers are vaping, and secondly, because most available data shows the opposite is occurring and vaping products are acting as a gateway away from tobacco. UKVIA believes all marketing, advertising and product designs should be directly aimed at adult smokers who are seeking an alternative to tobacco. Importantly, any visual similarities between smoking and vaping will become increasingly less obvious as the technology and category continues to develop.

When Action on Smoking and Health UK conducted extensive research in 2014, it found that less than 0.2% of vapers were people who had never smoked. The World Health Organisation, too, says: “renormalisation as measured by smoking prevalence of smoking is not occurring currently.” In fact, there is no credible evidence that shows cigarette consumption is increasing due to vaping. To the contrary, most evidence suggests that vaping products are actively contributing to declining smoking rates as increasing numbers of smokers move away from tobacco. Only recently, a UK study found that, in 2015 alone, 18,000 smokers successfully quit tobacco by using vaping devices, and, according to Action on Smoking and Health “the drop-in smoking also shows that concerns that the use of electronic cigarettes would lead to a renormalisation of tobacco use appear unfounded. The rapid increase in use of these products has coincided with a consistent steady decline in smoking.”

UKVIA believes manufacturers and retailers must remain vigilant in minimising vaping product appeal to under-18s and non-smokers to ensure that this continues. UKVIA strongly advocates legally enforceable bans on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, as well as the enacting of advertising codes preventing the targeting of young people and non-smokers.

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Should vaping advertising be permitted?

Vaping devices are for adults. We believe that appropriate advertising for vaping devices should be allowed as they are not a tobacco product. It is important, form a public health perspective, that smokers can receive information about the alternatives available to them, and responsible advertising is an essential component of this. The TPD would ban all advertising, but by doing so, it would restrict smokers’ access to information which could lead to their making the switch to vaping and removing the clear majority of harms caused by their smoking. It is very difficult to see how an advertising ban could benefit individual smokers, their families and friends, and the population.

Current evidence shows the clear majority of vapers are either existing or former tobacco users. There is little evidence of significant uptake by minors or non-tobacco users. It is important that we do not restrain a sector that is giving tobacco users a truly viable alternative. Customers are looking for choice and variety in their products, and the industry is catering for that.

Should vaping be allowed in public places?

We believe vaping should be allowed in public places. It is legal to ‘vape’ in a public place because there is no burning and no smoke is emitted – only vapour.

We want to work with MHRA to ensure that vaping devices meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy to help reduce the harms of smoking. It’s important to note that Cancer Research UK and ASH UK have warned that the e-cigarette ban could be a backwards step in the fight to reduce smoking rates.

In addition, the saving to the public purse of the growth of e-cigarettes is substantial, and that is before we consider the improved health of ex-smokers.

Is there scientific/medical research on the safety and efficacy of vaping devices available?

E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review
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E-cigarettes: a developing public health consensus
View article

Electronic vapourisers
View article

Become a member

Do you create or sell vaping products in the UK? We represent vaping industry producers, distributors and vendors in the UK. Should you be a member of UKVIA?
Find out more about the benefits and how to get involved.

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