Although long-term research is still underway, it is widely accepted that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. But how can you be sure that the E-Liquid you are buying is safe to vape?
In the UK, there are many regulations in place that aim to keep the E-Liquids that are sold safer for vapers. Vape juice must be compliant with these rules in order to be legally sold.
We take a look at the UK regulations and things you should look out for to ensure the E-Liquid you are using is compliant!
E-Liquids that are made in the UK are subject to pretty rigorous regulations and testing before they can be placed on the market for sale. This is to check that they are safe to use and do not contain ingredients that could be harmful to the vaper.
The vape juice will undergo toxicity and emissions testing to ensure it doesn’t contain any banned substances. If it is found to contain something toxic, then it cannot be registered on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) register. If it is not registered on the MHRA list, then the E-Liquid is not legally allowed to be sold.
As a customer, you can check the MHRA register yourself to see if a brand has gone through the required testing and been confirmed as safe to use. Only products that contain nicotine are required to be registered on the MHRA, so shortfill brands won’t appear on the list.
All new nicotine E-Liquids must be submitted to MHRA six months before they intend to start selling it. The same goes for new vape devices, which also have to be approved before they can be sold.
Look at the Labels
There are some rules that E-Liquid sellers must follow when it comes to the labelling of their products. All E-Liquid bottles must include warnings about nicotine, display the nicotine strength, and list the basic ingredients.
E-Liquid bottles will show a warning about nicotine even if it is a 0mg E-Liquid, such as a shortfill. This is because 0mg shortfills have the potential to be mixed with a nic shot to become a product that contains nicotine!
All ingredients that make up more than 0.1% of the overall E-Liquid have to be listed on the label. This allows you to know what’s in your vape juice, so you can have greater peace of mind about what you’re vaping.
E-Liquid Bottling Rules
Another way that E-Liquids are regulated in the UK is through the bottle sizes. The rules state that you can only sell vape juice that contains nicotine in bottles no larger than 10ml.
This means that your standard freebase nicotine bottle can only contain 10ml of vape juice.
Similarly, rules are in place for the size that tanks can be made. Vape tanks are only allowed to hold a capacity of 2ml or less.
Shortfills offer a slight loophole in the 10ml bottle rule. This type of E-Liquid is nicotine-free, meaning that it can be sold in any size bottle, typically 50ml or 100ml.
Nicotine can then be added to these shortfills to create a larger bottle of E-Liquid. Because you can sell nicotine in bottles of up to 10ml, it is legal to sell 10ml bottles known as ‘nic shots’. This provides a slightly cheaper way of buying E-Liquid in larger amounts and can make it easier to create vape juices in lower strengths.
The physical packaging of E-Liquids will also have safety in mind. E-Liquid bottles are designed to be child-proof and also come with tamper-proof features to ensure that your E-Liquid is safer.
UK E-Liquid Strength Limitations
Another regulation in place in the UK is that of E-Liquid strengths. In the UK, E-Liquid can only be sold in strengths up to a maximum of 20mg/ml. For comparison, it is not uncommon to find 50mg E-Liquids in the US.
20mg should be sufficient for even heavy smokers, who were previously smoking a pack or more a day.
If you want a ‘stronger’ vaping experience in the UK, then you can try out salt nicotine (aka nic salts). Nic salt is a type of nicotine that absorbs into your body better than freebase nicotine, giving you a quicker and more satisfying vape.
E-Liquid Black Market
One of the biggest issues with vaping safety comes from the sale of ‘black market’ E-Liquids. This is predominantly a problem in the United States, where vaping products have been banned in some states.
These bans and restrictions have led to people creating their own vape juices, which are unregulated and can be harmful. One of the main issues comes from those who try to add cannabis products, such as THC oil, to their E-Liquid.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - the main health protection agency in America - admits that the vast majority of vaping related lung problems in the US are linked to black market cannabis products, rather than standard nicotine vape juices.
In the UK, it is much more common to find dedicated vape stores and reliable retailers, so this is much less of a problem here. However, it is still important that you purchase from a trusted retailer, such as RED Box Vape, rather than buy from someone selling their own juice mix in a Facebook sellers group, for example!
Does E-Liquid Contain Diacetyl?
A vaping concern that hit the news media a couple of years ago was the phenomenon of ‘popcorn lung’. This is an extremely rare lung condition that was falsely linked to vaping due to the fact that some E-Liquids in the US contain an ingredient called diacetyl.
Diacetyl has been linked to the condition known as popcorn lung, but there is no evidence that vaping has caused any cases of popcorn lung.
Diacetyl is actually banned in the UK and EU, so no E-Liquids sold in the UK should contain it. As such, vaping British-made E-Liquids, like those sold here at RED Box Vape, will be free from diacetyl anyway.
Other Prohibited Ingredients
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has a list of banned ingredients that are not allowed in E-Liquids sold in the UK. As well as diacetyl, caffeine, taurine and colourings are also prohibited ingredients in vape juice.
We hope this guide has put your mind at ease when it comes to choosing E-Liquids in the UK. When purchasing E-Liquids, you can keep these guidelines in mind to check that the products you are interested in are compliant with the rules.
When buying from a trusted retailer, you can rest assured that your E-Liquids are following the required regulations to ensure vaper’s safety. Explore our full range of British E-Liquids to find vaping deals for you.