A legal loophole could be allowing unscrupulous e-liquid sellers to create short fill e-liquids that are poor quality and could affect userís safety, according to an industry expert. Mark Fawcett from GoSmokeFree has warned that this legal loophole that impacts short fills could see people buying poor quality and even potentially dangerous products when they donít use well known and reputable wholesale or direct sellers.
Under the current regulations, tobacco products in the UK come under the Tobacco Products Directive 2016 (TPD) and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR). This also includes vape products for electronic cigarettes because they contain nicotine.
But short fills (also known as shake and vape liquids) donít contain any nicotine and therefore are exempt from the current regulations. Short fills are designed to be used with nicotine shots and donít contain any of the nicotine themselves. A shot of nicotine, typically 20mg is then mixed with the short fill, shaken and used in an e-cigarette.
The benefits of this are it allows users to control the levels of nicotine as well as choosing what combinations they want to make. But there are problems due to the lack of regulation on these products.
Because short fills are not covered by the regulations due to the lack of nicotine, experts are concerned that this leaves consumers with no protection. And with any industry that lacks protection, there is the risk that unscrupulous characters exploit it.
Mr Fawcett said that the legislation was put in place to make everyone who produced nicotine-containing e-liquids accountable for the quality and standards of their products. But the short fill issue means there is a big gap in the market with no regulation or protection. He is worried that no-one is policing the products that vapers are using on a daily basis when they choose short fills over normal pre-mixed e-liquids.
Established wholesale producers go through a series of tests on their products that costs thousands of pounds but ensure that everything they offer is to the highest standard. This includes the use of clean rooms to certain ISO standards and ensuring that products meet ISO:9001, the worldí leading quality management system.
However, products that arenít made with these kinds of quality standards in place can contain unpleasant and potentially dangerous substances such as diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione and acetoin. These have been connected with long term illnesses such as bronchiolitis obliterans, known as popcorn lung.
Plus there are horror stories from poor quality products bought outside the UK including one that came from Malaysia and had a spider in the e-liquid! Cheap flavourings and poor quality products put people at risk and mean they also have little comeback if they receive a poor quality product.
The recommendation is simple Ė buy from established, reputable companies that show the processes they use to create their products. You might pay a little more but at least you can be confident about the quality of the product. And the government should also consider looking at short fills to ensure customers are protected in the future.
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