The Tobacco Products Directive 2014/14/EU introduced new rules for nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and refill containers (Article 20) from May 2016. MHRA is the competent authority for the notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers in the UK and is responsible for implementing the majority of provisions under Article 20.
The TPD introduced new rules which ensure:
minimum standards for the safety and quality of all e-cigarettes and refill containers (otherwise known as e-liquids)
that information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices
an environment that protects children from starting to use these products.
From 20 May 2017, the new requirements:
restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml
restrict the maximum volume of nicotine-containing e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml
restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml
require nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident
ban certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine
include new labelling requirements and warnings
require all e-cigarettes and e-liquids be notified to MHRA before they can be sold
Consumers and healthcare professionals can report side effects and safety concerns with e-cigarettes or refill containers to MHRA through the Yellow Card reporting system. You can also report products suspected to be defective or non-compliant with your local Trading Standards or to TPDsafety@mhra.gov.uk.
The UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 implement the TPD in the UK and came into force on 20 May 2016. Part 6 of the regulations set out the requirements for e-cigarettes and refill containers.
The regulations introduce requirements for producers of e-cigarettes and refill containers. A producer is anyone who manufactures or imports these products or who re-brands any product as their own. Producers must submit information about their products to MHRA through a European Common Entry Gate (EU-CEG) notification portal.
Retailers do not need to submit information for any products they sell unless they also qualify as a producer. Retailers had until 20 May 2017 to sell through stock of products that do not comply with the labelling and product composition requirements of the TPD.
The TPD does not cover nicotine-containing products that are authorised as medicines. Further information about licensing these products as medicines can be found here.
Advice for Retailers:
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 Submitted Products.
If you cannot find the product on MHRA's website, ask your supplier to confirm that the product complies with the TPD and has been notified to MHRA. If a producer has not notified the product or it does not comply with the TPD, they may not supply it to you.
The TPD requirements on nicotine concentration (20mg/ml maximum) and size of presentation (10ml maximum for refill container and 2ml maximum for e-cigarettes) apply to products sold to end consumers (irrespective of whether the end consumer intends to modify the product).
Advice on the restrictions on advertising e-cigarettes and refill containers is available from the Department of Health here and from the Advertising Standards Authority here.