MHRA closes “vaping loophole” with latest revision and clarifications  

  • Government agency takes action following discussions with UKVIA and Trading Standards

The government agency acting as the competent authority for overseeing the UK’s e-cigarettes and refill containers notification scheme as well as implementing the Tobacco and related Products Regulations (TRPR) has updated guidance on the sale of vaping products following discussions with the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) and Trading Standards.

The UKVIA decided to intervene after being approached by a significant number of vape products manufacturers, distributors and retailers confused about what could and could not be legally sold in shops – particularly following the recent surge in new disposable vapes entering the UK market.

As a result, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now clarified its advice to both manufacturers and distributors of e-liquids and devices and vaping retailers.

The UKVIA took part discussions with the MHRA and Trading Standards following concerns raised by retailers unsure of their compliance requirements and wary of falling foul of the law.

John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, said: “Due to the numerous enquiries we received about the legality of stocking new-to-the-market products, in particular the surge in new disposables, we decided it was imperative to talk to Trading Standards and raise this with the MRHA to seek clarification.

“Since then, we have been working with the MHRA to clarify the process around when products can legally be placed on the market for sale.

“The first part saw the MHRA issue an e-bulletin clearly setting out the process and making it unambiguous that it is illegal to place products into the market until the ‘ECID’ numbers are published on the MHRA website as ‘approved/declared’

“Next the MHRA updated its online advice for retailers, which is a highly satisfactory outcome as it effectively closes the loophole for when brands can place the product on the market and when a retailer can legally sell the product.”

The MHRA’s guidance for vaping retailers previously read:

“When sourcing new supplies of any e-cigarette or e-liquid product, check that details of the notification for the product have been published in the list of Notified Products.

“If you cannot find the product on the MHRA’s website, ask your supplier to confirm that the product complies with the TRPR and has been notified to the MHRA. If a producer has not notified the product or it does not comply with the TRPR, they may not supply it to you.”

The new wording says:

When sourcing new supplies of any e-cigarette or e-liquid product, check that a compliant notification has been published in one of the Notified Product lists above.

If you cannot find the product on the MHRA’s website, ask your supplier to confirm that it has been published and provide details to enable you to confirm the product’s status. If a product has yet to achieve publication status, they may not supply it to you.

John Dunne continued: “This demonstrates how effective open dialogue with organisations such as the MHRA and Trading Standards can be in helping the vaping industry to remain legally compliant.”

He added: “We want our sector to be known for upholding strict standards when it comes to the manufacture, distribution and sale of vaping products and this clarification from the MHRA can leave no one in any doubt about where their responsibilities lie.”

For more information and to read the MHRA’s full wording on the sale of vaping products go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-cigarettes-regulations-for-consumer-products#advice-for-retailers

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