Why E-liquids Will Never Be Banned In The UK

If you’ve been keeping up with news in the vaping world recently, you’ve most likely come across articles discussing bans for flavoured e-liquids and tax for other flavours such as tobacco in certain European countries.

This may sound alarming, but it’s important to remember that each country has its own set of rules and regulations surrounding smoking and vaping that differ from laws in the UK. In this article, we’ll be explaining why certain e-liquid flavours have been banned in several countries, and why we’re confident that this will never be the case for the UK!

What is an e-liquid flavour ban?

An e-liquid flavour ban prohibits the production and sale of certain e-liquid flavours to consumers.

Why have flavoured e-liquids been banned in certain European countries?

The main reason as to why some countries in Europe have banned flavoured e-liquids is to tackle teen smoking. Many countries believe that the surge in underage smoking rates is causing an increase in underage vaping.

Their stance is that sweet e-liquids are encouraging young people to vape and eventually smoke, and the only way to prevent this is to ban flavoured e-liquids altogether. In 2020, the US announced a sweeping ban on mint and fruit e-liquid flavours following concerns around teen vaping. However, the US allows fruit flavours to be sold in different ways.

Is banning certain e-liquid flavours the best way to prevent teen smoking?

Put simply, no it is not. There’s one major fault with these bans that has been overlooked, and it’s that vaping is proven to be a far less harmful alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes are also proven to be an effective smoking cessation method, having been the most popular quitting tool in 2020 as reported by PHE.

A growing number of studies are indicating that the success rate of vaping as a quitting aid is even higher when used with flavours such as fruit and menthol, rather than tobacco alone. With e-liquid flavours banned, smoking rates among both teens and adults are bound to increase. This means that people may even begin to seek out e-liquid flavours through illegal means.

Which European countries have banned flavoured e-liquids?

Three European countries already have flavour bans, including Estonia, Finland and Hungary. Apart from Vatican City in Rome, no European country has a full vaping ban. The most recent country to propose a flavour ban is the Netherlands, which is due to start from the 1st of July 2022.

Will e-liquids be banned in the UK?

The question that remains on every vaper’s mind is: will a flavour ban or a similar law also come into force in the UK? Well, at present, there are no reasons to suggest this. Here are four solid reasons why e-liquids will never be banned in the UK:

  • 1. The NHS Recommends E-cigarettes As A Quitting Tool: In 2015 and again in 2018, Public Health England (PHE) published two comprehensive reviews which evidenced that e-cigarettes are in fact 95% safer than cigarettes. The professional backing for vaping has continued to build - in February 2021, PHE revealed further proof that vaping devices are more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which was once thought to be the best smoking cessation tool.

    Even more promising is a recent study from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) which has found that regular e-cigarette use among underage people in the UK remains at a low level, specifically for those who have never smoked before. Another huge win for the vaping community has been the rollout of free e-cigarettes in emergency departments in 2021. This saw hospitals in London, Edinburgh, Norfolk and Leicester give out vaping starter packs alongside continuing support to help people quit.

  • 2. The Government Endorses Vaping: Alongside the NHS, the UK government continues to demystify vaping and echo its effectiveness as a quitting aid. In October 2021, the UK government even revealed plans to consider prescribing e-cigarettes via the NHS, which will be a world-first milestone for vaping should it come into place. The UK government has set a goal for England to be smoke free by 2030, and one key way to achieve this is by keeping vaping devices and a vast choice of e-liquid flavours accessible to those who wish to quit.

  • 3. The UK Follows Strict TPD/TRPR Regulations: For maximum safety, all e-liquids are stringently regulated in the UK under the latest TPD/TRPR (Tobacco Product Directive/Tobacco and Related Products Regulations).TPD/TRPR in the UK state that all e-liquids containing nicotine cannot exceed a size capacity over 10ml and a nicotine strength over 20mg, regardless of flavour.

    All e-liquids sold in the UK must also contain nicotine warning stickers alongside childproof caps/nozzles. Moreover, vaping devices and e-liquid flavours cannot be purchased by or sold to anyone below the age of 18, meaning age verification is a legal requirement for all vape stores. These robust compliance measures ensure that people are allowed to vape responsibly with confidence, all while preventing products from falling into the wrong hands. In other words, the UK has among the most trustworthy compliance measures in the world!

  • 4. The Majority Of The UK Supports Vaping: Within recent years, both the popularity and social acceptance of vaping has increased dramatically with no signs of stopping. Interestingly, in 2021, ASH reported that over 93% of the general population has heard of vaping as compared to 49% in 2012.

    According to another 2021 study from ASH, there are over 3.6 million adult vapers in England at present. When we compare this to nearly 7 million smokers in England, this is an encouraging figure that holds a lot of optimism for the vaping community.