Old legislation goes up in smoke

Monday, 8 May 2017  |  Admin

Larger pack sizes, increased prices and removal of branding on cigarettes will all be commonplace come the launch of the EU’s revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) later this month. With young people soon to be priced out of buying cigarettes - the cheapest packet being £8.82 - their attention will turn to alternatives, including the e-cigarette.

When e-cigarettes were first launched to the UK back in 2007, anyone of any age could buy them. In October 2015 however, the law changed and it became a criminal offence to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, or to any adults purchasing e-cigarette devices, liquids or accessories on behalf of an under-18. As part of a wider strategy to protect children from the health risks of nicotine addiction, retailers would be fined £2,500 for breaching these laws.

The updated standards for e-cigarettes, which comes into force on the 21st May include:

1. Restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2ml

2. Restrict the maximum volume of e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10ml.

3. Restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml.

4. Require nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident.

5. Ban certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine.

6. Include new labelling requirements and warnings.

7. Require e-cigarettes and e-liquids be notified to heath regulators before they can be sold.

In order to successfully implement the new legislature, we understand that retailers must receive the information and support needed to comply, and know what steps to take if they suspect an underage customer is attempting to purchase e-cigarettes.

Retailers can access nationally accredited training packages via Under Age Sales to help their teams understand and adhere to the laws relating to e-cigarettes. Not only will completing the training courses teach staff everything they need to know about selling age restricted products, but it could provide the owner/manager with proof of due diligence if they or one of their team accidently slip up and sell e-cigarettes to someone underage, ensuring the safety of young people, shop owners and employees alike. 


This article describes the law as it is applied in England. There are subtle differences to terms used, penalties and approach in other parts of the UK, but the gist of the legislation remains the same.