While vaping is known to be a recommended method of quitting smoking in the UK, with the NHS endorsing vaping as a stop smoking aid, there are many countries around the world that look less favourably on vaping due to incidents that have occurred.
In June 2022, popular vape brand JUUL was ordered to be removed from the market in the United States after a ban from the FDA. This response came from concerns about the number of young people using vaping products after a 2019 federal report revealed that more than a quarter of high schoolers were using e-cigarettes.
With sensational news stories constantly emerging from America regarding ‘popcorn lung’, exploding vape kits, and other vaping horror stories, it’s no wonder that attitudes to vaping have changed in the US, with the effects of these bans rippling to other nations.
However, this highlights one of the more important reasons why vaping is seen so poorly around the world compared to in the UK. Vaping legislation is much stronger in the UK than in other countries, making the vaping products sold much safer.
To help you understand the difference between vaping in the UK vs in America and other countries, we are sharing some of the legislation and rules around vaping to see how it compares.
UK Vaping Legislation
In the UK, we are extremely fortunate to be protected by stringent legislation pertaining to the European Union Tobacco Product Directive (EUTPD), which regulates:
- The size of containers holding liquid nicotine, which is limited to no more than 10ml.
- The strength of liquid nicotine, which is limited to 20% or less.
- The packaging for liquid nicotine, which must be both child-resistant and tamper evident.
- The ingredients of the liquid, which include colourings, caffeine and taurine. These must have corresponding markings so that customers are aware of the content of the product.
- The labelling of the liquid, with warnings of possible side effects and rules for consuming.
- The advertising of liquid nicotine, which must be carried out in a socially responsible manner.
- Both e-cigarettes and E-Liquids must be notified to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to obtain permission to be sold.
Government Approval on All Vaping Products in the UK
In the UK, new nicotine E-Liquids and vaping kits can’t just be sold when they get made. All information on all kinds of vaping products has to be submitted by manufacturers to be approved by the Government before they get the allowance to sell their product to the broad public.
Whilst many vape advocates may campaign for the Government to reduce some vaping laws, such as the current prohibition of vaping in public areas, we remain extremely grateful to have such comprehensive and protective legislation deeply entrenched in our country.
With initiatives such as the TPD, and being within an industry just as highly regulated as that of the tobacco market, companies like RED Box Vape are able to still meet the demands of consumers in a responsible and ethical way, giving them and their loved ones the confidence of safety, and protecting them against any possible adverse effects from vaping.
We’re also very proud to be part of the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), a not-for-profit body supporting its members through the implementation of the TPD, sharing the most appropriate good practices, and fostering research and manufacturing excellence in order to deliver a proportionate regulatory landscape surrounding the vape market. As a community, it is essential that we all take responsibility for implementing these positive changes.
How Do UK Vaping Legislations Compare to US Legislations?
Public Health England has said, “E-cigarettes containing nicotine are more tightly regulated in the UK than in the US,” and this is one of the main reasons that there are so many problems with vaping in America.
Vaping has been popular in the US since 2007, but the FDA didn’t introduce any regulations until 2016, meaning that vape products were sold unregulated in the US for almost 10 years.
In the UK, the amount of nicotine in vape products is limited to 20mg/ml, while in the US, there is no limit on the strength of E-Liquids. Some popular E-Liquids are 59mg/ml, with many of the disposable vape kits popular with young people containing 50mg - about the same as 50 cigarettes.
Nicotine strengths are limited to 20mg in the UK to limit nicotine consumption and to provide ex-smokers in the UK with a framework to help them lower their nicotine consumption. Action on Smoking and Health state that 44% of UK vapers view e-cigarettes as a tool that can help them to lower their nicotine consumption levels.
With no limits in the US, and vape products being made at extreme strengths, it’s no wonder that there are so many issues with vaping. Extreme nicotine strengths can cause nicotine sickness and make quitting nicotine difficult.
Another issue with vaping in America is the ability to mix your own E-Liquids and add ingredients, such as THC. In the UK, the ingredients in E-Liquids are regulated and reviewed by the Government before they can be sold.
The outbreak of “vaping-related illness” in the US has been tied to certain chemicals in vaping products, specifically THC and Vitamin E, which are banned in the manufacture of E-Liquids in the UK.
One of the biggest vaping concerns is the usage of vape kits amongst young people. With a quarter of high school students reported to use e-cigarettes, it is a major concern in the US.
In America, e-cigarette companies have been able to target young people on social media and TV through advertising, which is banned in the UK, where there are much stronger regulations regarding advertising e-cigarettes.
As outlined by the Advertising Standards Agency:
- Ads for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes not licensed as medicines are prohibited on on-demand television, in newspapers and magazines, on the internet, in emails and in text messages.
- All ads for vaping and e-cigarettes that appear in media that are permitted should still be socially responsible, not targeted at children and should not make unauthorised health and/or safety claims.
After an incident in Australia in 2019, it was reported that only a single millimetre of liquid nicotine concentrate is enough to be fatal to a young child if ingested, inhaled or splashed in their eyes. This puts weight on the need to ensure E-Liquid packaging is child-proof and uses blander designs to make them inaccessible to children. That’s why our signature ranges of RED Liquids and Vape Co use minimalistic packaging and have child-proof caps.
At RED Box Vape, we will continue to support our international partners and the wider public health bodies, to ensure that such robust legislation soon exists worldwide, as we strive towards a future where no link can ever be drawn between tragic fatalities and the vaping industry.