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How to Sell E-Liquid: Do You Need a Licence?

Jul 18, 2019

Vaping has been one of the fastest growing markets in the UK over the past decade. Vape shops continue to pop up on highstreets across the UK as demands for the products grow.

As demand for e-cigarettes and e-liquids grows, so does the focus and regulation surrounding the products. In the UK, rules around e-cigarettes and refill containers are set by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, which came into force in May 2016 implement the TPD in the UK.

If you run or are thinking of opening a vape shop, do you know if you need a licence to sell e-liquids in the UK? Are you aware of recent regulation that was introduced around e-liquids and have you defined your role in the market? Read on for more information on these areas.

Are you a producer of e-liquids?

It is important to understand your role in the market when it comes to e-cigarettes and e-liquids. A producer is defined as ‘anyone who manufactures or imports these products or who re-brands any product as their own.’

Producers are responsible for ensuring that their products comply with the TPD requirements.

Do I need a licence to sell e-liquids?

The gov.uk website states that retailers do not need to submit details of the products that they sell unless they also qualify as a producer (see above).

Regulations dictate that producers of e-liquids or e-cigarettes must submit information about their products to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before their products are able to be sold:

• A notification to the MHRA must be submitted 6 months before the product is intended to be put for sale in the UK
• Products can only be sold in the UK once they are published in the list of submitted products

For retailers it is advisable to ensure that products you source meet these requirements by checking that the products you are sourcing have been notified to the MHRA.

There is a useful guide for retailers produced by the MHRA which may be worth referring to if you currently run or are planning to set up a new vape shop.

Further information on the whole process for both retailers and producers can be found on the gov.uk website here.

What are the regulations surrounding e-liquids?

New regulation for e-cigarettes and refill containers came into force on the 20th May 2017. With regards to e-liquids, these include:

• Nicotine-containing e-liquids cannot be sold in quantities greater than 10ml
• Nicotine containing e-liquids cannot have a nicotine strength of more than 20mg/ml
• Nicotine-containing products or their packaging must be child-resistant and tamper evident
• A ban on certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine
• New labelling requirements and warnings
• All e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be notified to MHRA before they can be sold

Given the speed at which the vape market has grown, some insurers have been slow to catch up with the specific insurance requirements of this sector. Some may struggle to understand what you do and more importantly, the risks your business faces. When it comes to selling e-cigarettes and e-liquids, product liability will of course be a concern.

To be sure that you have the correct insurance in place, it is advisable to discuss your needs with a broker such as Anthony Jones who are experienced in the vaping insurance market and the approved broker to the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA). If you have any questions about your insurance needs don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 0208 290 9080 or email us at ecig@anthonyjones.com.

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