Born in the USA - The tricky issues surrounding American e-liquids

Published by Matt Brown on 11th Nov 2016

We've been asked in the past why we don't stock some popular e-liquids which have come out of the market in the USA. While there are some very interesting flavours stateside, a number of issues prevent us from carrying them.

You may be aware that this year the UK has put in place new rules covering the sale of e-cigs (we've been banging on about it enough). What you may not be fully aware of though, is how these regulations extend to e-liquids.

The TPD has introduced new restrictions to both the bottle sizes and nicotine strengths of the e-liquids we are allowed to sell. However, the rules also cover ingredients and packaging, which are the two sticking points in our ability to stock them.

First, the ingredients.

Many of the most popular American e-liquids are of the dessert persuasion. There are loads of really interesting and unique flavours which have made their way over to our shores in the past couple of years.

The problem is that a good number of these have been found to use ingredients which may be unsafe. Several investigations have noted the presence of chemicals such as Diacetyl, which is often used to lend an e-liquid a distinctive buttery sweetness that tastes great, but stands on very shaky ground from a health standpoint.

We made a decision a long time ago not to use these chemicals in the production of our own e-liquids, but the law has now caught up, banning these ingredients outright. There's also ban in place on the use of additives, such as caffeine, taurine or vitamins.

That's not to say that there's not some great e-liquid vendors on the other side of the Atlantic producing some fine products, but we'd definitely recommend doing your research on them before committing to a purchase.

And now, the packaging.

Perhaps less interesting, but just as legally binding, are the rules surrounding e-liquid packaging.

While within the EU e-liquids were already covered by CLP, packaging restrictions have been toughened up considerably thanks to the TPD.

There has been a growing trend towards the use of glass pipette bottles by many American e-liquid manufacturers. This has now been ruled out as a big no-no, with glass pipette bottles as they exist just now being prohibited owing to their lack of leak resistance (one of the requirements of the TPD).

That also doesn't include the new labelling called for on all e-liquid packaging, which is an incoming legal requirement for all e-liquids sold in the UK.

Without a move towards packaging compliance (under both the TPD and CLP), vendors selling in the UK or across the EU will not legally be able to carry such products.