Regulators are being urged to clamp down hard on retailers selling illegal super-strength disposable vape pods in the UK.
Pod systems with nicotine strengths of up to two-and-a-half times the UK limit are being sold online and in convenience stores by a significant minority of unscrupulous retailers.
The maximum permitted nicotine strength is 20mg/ml but liquids with concentrations of 50mg/ml are being openly sold.
Some of the illegal products, seen by Vapouround magazine, are intended for the US market and contain a warning on the outer packaging saying: “Sale only allowed in the United States.”
The UK Vaping Industry Association has called for ‘tough action and robust enforcement’ by regulators against anyone found to be flouting the law.
“We must ensure the industry’s reputation is not tarnished by a minority of resellers and retailers intent on making a quick buck out of a trending product.”John Dunne, Director-General, UKVIA
UK vape regulator the MHRA, warns retailers that it is their responsibility to ensure that all products they sell have been approved for sale by the regulator.
Anyone caught selling non-compliant products could have their entire stock seized and face fines of up to £5,000 for each breach of the law.
The UKVIA is so concerned about the development that it rushed out a two-page factsheet, giving compliance guidance to retailers on the sale of disposable vape devices.
The free guide, produced in conjunction with vaping compliance specialists Arcus Compliance, covers the rules regarding tank/reservoir capacity of devices, nicotine levels and the elements that must be contained on packaging.
UKVIA Director-General John Dunne said:
“We are doing all we can as a trade association to ensure the industry’s reputation is not tarnished by a minority of resellers and retailers intent on making a quick buck out of a trending product.
“Whilst disposables have a major role to play in the vape market, like all products they need to adhere to the legislation.
“Our guidance is designed to ensure retailers keep on the right side of the law.”John Dunne, Director-General, UKVIA
The move comes after the UKVIA uncovered ‘mounting evidence of illicit and inappropriately branded disposable vape products’ entering the UK market.
It said the illegal products were being sold both in convenience shops and via major online marketplaces.
A UKVIA spokesperson said:
“The association has been in active discussions with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Trading Standards to address the problem.
“It has now moved quickly to publish guidance for retailers which clarifies the regulations around disposable vape products.”