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E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a nicotine-containing e-liquid to generate an aerosol. Using an e-cigarette is also known as “vaping”. This guide explains how to source and sell e-cigarettes responsibly.

Download the E-cigarettes guide here

The European Union Tobacco Products Directive “TPD” is the framework that sets minimum regulatory standards and processes for tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and herbal products for smoking in the European Union. The Directive was implemented into UK law through the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016 (TRPR). In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality. Vapour products in the UK need to be notified to the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). MHRA requires all e-cigarette manufacturers to submit data to evaluate the potential health impact of a product, as well as information about how it was manufactured.

This guide outlines the features of an e-cigarette/vaping product that you need to look out for to ensure that it's legal to sell. 

Checking Legitimate Products

If you are unsure about the legitimacy of an e-cigarette product, you can check to see whether it's on the MHRA list here: https://cms.mhra.gov.uk/ecig.

This tool allows you search by brand name, product type and product name. 

Age Restrictions

E-cigarettes are age-restricted products by law. The minimum age to purchase is 18. Any retailer who sells an e-cigarette to someone under the age of 18 is committing an offence, and both the business owner and staff members who made the sale can be penalised.

ACS recommends the use of Challenge 25 policies for all underage sales. Challenge 25 is a store policy based on two simple principles:

  1. All staff serving customers should be trained to ‘think 25’. This means if a customer is seeking to buy an age restricted product (of any kind), the staff member should ask themselves the question – ‘does the person in front of me look like they might be under the age of 25 years?’ If the answer is yes, then they should ask the person for a valid proof of age. If the identification confirms they are over the legal age of purchase for that product, then it can be sold to them.
  2. The store policy is clearly communicated to customers, usually through the use of visible in-store signage.

It is an offence for an adult to purchase nicotine inhaling products on behalf of someone under age. This is commonly called a ‘proxy sale’. You should consider adopting a common approach to identifying and preventing proxy sales across all age restricted products

Download the E-cigarettes guide here