UK regulation for merchants who sell e-cigarettes

Nochex is a popular payment solution for UK and European based merchants who supply the e-cigarettes market. We understand the needs and circumstances of business people who supply vapers. We work with vendors to help make sure they remain compliant.
This article is written for e-cigarette merchants who use Nochex to accept payments. Its purpose is to describe current UK regulation. This is with particular regard to ensuring that your website conforms, and to address mistakes commonly made by merchants. This article is written to help you and your website stay safe, legal and beyond reproach.

UK E-Cigarettes Regulation

The primary legislation is The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Since coming into force the most important requirements for selling e-cigarettes online have been as follows:

  • Restrict e-cigarette tanks to a maximum capacity of 2ml.
  • To restrict the maximum volume of nicotine-containing e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml.
  • Restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml.
  • To require nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident.
  • Ban certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine.
  • To comply with labelling requirements and warnings.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil e-liquids

If you distribute Cannabidiol then you must provide evidence of a certificate of analysis from the manufacturer. This is with regards to independent testing to show that your products do not contain the controlled substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Medicinal claims and electronic cigarettes

You must not make medicinal claims for these products. You cannot say products containing nicotine are suitable for cutting down, quitting or reducing the harms of smoking. Such claims can only be made for medicinal products. Medicinal products must have the approval of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Proof of authorisation is required in order for you to make medicinal claims. Without authorisation any medicinal claims must be removed from your website.

“Nicotine is an addictive substance”

Merchants must have a disclaimer on the homepage of their website. The disclaimer should state that “Nicotine is an addictive substance”. Alternatively, you could put this disclaimer in your page footer.

Age verification and e-cigarettes

It is illegal for retailers to sell electronic cigarettes or e-liquids to someone under 18 years of age. As such, you must have an age verification banner and age checking facility on entry to your website. This is to ensure that your customers have confirmed they are over the age of 18.

UK e-cigarettes regulation and cross border sales

If you supply e-cigarettes outside the UK your business needs to be registered with the UK Government. This applies to merchants selling online. This also applies to:

  • UK businesses selling e-cigarettes and / or refill containers to consumers in another country in the EEA. The EEA is the European Economic Area. It consists of the European Union Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
  • Businesses from the EEA or a third country selling to UK consumers.

Registering is a legal requirement under The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations. You can register your business from the link here.

Copyright images and Intellectual Property references

When you are selling e-liquids make sure you do not have any Copyrighted images or Intellectual Property references. This is particularly applies for things like  sweets, tobacco, food brands or labels.

Electronic cigarette manufacturers

If you are a make them all new e-cigarettes and e-liquids need to be notified to the MHRA. This must be done before they can be sold. Business to business sales, that is sales not direct to consumers, do not need to be registered.

Electronic cigarettes and retailers

If you are a retailer only, then existing e-cigarette products do not need to be registered. This does not apply to wholesalers or manufacturers.

Further information

If you would like to know more about UK e-cigarettes regulations for consumers, click here. To see the EU’s legal position, click here. To discuss any questions you have arising from this article, contact your Account Manager.

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