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How to Start a Vape Shop: Opening & How Much Does it Cost?

Aug 15, 2019

The vaping and e-cigarette industry is turning in to big business, with vape shops present on highstreets across the UK. Recent news last month also saw reports of vaping shops opening up in two NHS hospitals, as part of the continued effort to encourage people to quit smoking.

However, like the tobacco industry, the vaping industry is subject to a range of regulations. So, if you are thinking of opening a vape shop there are many things you need to be aware of.

Do I need a licence to open a vape shop?

If you are planning to open a vape shop you do not need to apply for a specific licence to do so.

There are rules around the sales of e-liquids though. And it is important to understand your role in the market – whether you are a producer/manufacturer of e cigarettes and e-liquids or a retailer. This will impact which rules you need to adhere to. Read our recent blog on selling e-liquids for more information.

What vaping regulations do I need to keep in mind?

The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force in May 2016 and brought with it stricter regulations with regards to e-cigarettes and certain e-liquids. Whilst manufacturers and producers are responsible for many of the regulations introduced, retailers must ensure that the products which they are selling adhere to the TPD.

Age Restrictions – as of the 1st October 2015, it is illegal for retailers to sell e-liquids or e-cigarettes to those under 18 years of age.

E-liquids and E-cigarettes – Before being sold, e-liquids and e-cigarettes must be submitted to the MHRA. Whilst this is the producer’s or manufacturer’s responsibility, as a retailer it is important to check with your suppliers that the products you are being offered have been notified to the MHRA. You can also check this on the gov.uk website here.

Likewise, there are strict regulations around certain elements of e-cigarettes and e-liquids. These include, but are not limited to:

– E-cigarette tank size limited to 2ml
– Nicotine containing liquids can only have a maximum strength of 20mg/ml nicotine
– Nicotine-containing refill container limited to 10ml maximum

Labelling – The labelling requirements for products which contain e-liquids also tightened as part of the TPD. Packaging must contain the following health warning “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance”. Labelling must also include the list of ingredients and nicotine content and delivery per dose. As well as batch numbers and a recommendation to store out of the reach of children.

Advertising – There are strict rules around the advertising of vape products. For example, the products cannot be advertised on TV, Radio, in certain printed publications or via digital advertising. As a retailer you will therefore need to be very careful about how you promote your business. More details on advertising restrictions can be found here

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.

How much does it cost to open a vape shop?

This will very much depend on the cost of the lease on the shop premises and the level of shop fit out that you choose. Many sources state the two biggest costs associated with vape shops are the premises and the products that you choose to stock. So, it will be important to think carefully about these before you set up a vape shop.

Costs will also vary depending on whether you set up your own independent vape store or decide to set up a franchise of one of the bigger vape shop chains already present on the high street.

What Insurance should I consider for my vape shop?

As well as ensuring the products that you are selling adhere to the relevant rules and regulation, if you have a vape shop you will need to consider vaping insurance.

Vape shops carry very different risks to standard retail units, so you need to ensure that you have the correct cover in place.

Key areas you will need to consider include product liability insurance, product recall insurance and risks of regulatory and liability litigation. Our recent blog on the basics of vaping insurance provides a good look at the areas you need to ensure you consider.

As the approved broker to the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), Anthony Jones are specialists in the vaping and electronic cigarette insurance market. If you are considering setting up a vape shop and have any questions about the insurance you need to have in place or the risks that you may face once your shop is open then 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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