Time to face the change: Do you understand the changes to e-cig legislation?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Time to face the change: Do you understand the changes to e-cig legislation?

The last few months have seen a number of changes relating to e-cigarettes, which could be causing some retailers some confusion. But don’t panic, help is at hand. Here we explain the changes and what it means for you and your business.

E-cigarettes are an age restricted product…

When e-cigarettes first entered the UK market, anyone of any age could buy them. However, on 1st October 2015 a new law came into force, making the statutory minimum age of sale for e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine 18. The new legislation also introduced a proxy offence making it illegal for an adult to buy or attempt to buy e-cigarette devices, liquids or accessories on behalf of anyone under 18.

In addition to the age restrictions for e-cigarettes and liquids, it has now been announced that a second brand of e-cigarette has now been approved by the UK medicines regulator and can be marketed as an aid to help people stop smoking. The approved device has been placed on the ‘General Sales List’ which means that it can be sold by any retail outlet without the supervision of pharmacist. In addition to this, they can also be prescribed by a doctor on the NHS.

None of the products approved so far have been authorised for use by persons under 18 years of age therefore the laws on the age of purchase / sale still apply.

So what should retailers do?

Retailers should make sure they know which products they are stocking and which laws are applicable.

Support is available to protect you and your team

Whether you sell just standard e-cigarettes or a combination of standard and medical products, there are wide ranges of nationally accredited training packages available to help you and your team understand and adhere to the law. As well as explaining the rules and guidelines around the legislation, completing a relevant course will also help protect you if you accidently slip up and sell a minor this age restricted product.

You should have in place an age verification policy on the sale of e-cigarettes, outlining the circumstances in which a customer will or will not be served. Challenge 25 is a commonly used age verification policy which states that, if a shopper appears to be below this age, they will be asked to produce suitable ID to prove that they are over 18. Acceptable photo ID includes a Passport, photo driver’s license or a PASS accredited proof of age card.

You might also want to consider having deterrent posters in your store, or using E-POS (Electronic Point of Sale) to prompt the till operative that a product is age restricted.

To find out more on how you can get your staff up to speed with the e-cigarette legislation, visit https://www.underagesales.co.uk/aboutus.html