Recommendations for regulating vaping

factasia’s recommendations are as follows:

Allow consumers to vape: allow the sale of nicotine and products that contain it, such as e-cigarettes (ECs), as a viable alternative to tobacco cigarettes in order to assure consumers of safety and quality without introducing costly or cumbersome limits on manufacturing.

ECs should not be classed as medicines: even by WHO definitions, ECs are not medicines and should not be regulated as such. Medical regulation would favour tobacco companies entering the e-cigarette market as only they or multinational pharmaceutical corporations can afford such hefty costs.

ECs should not be classed as poisons either: as nicotine concentrations used are not a significant hazard and cannot be compared to other chemicals present in the home, such as household cleaning products.

Safety and quality: Enact regulations that assure consumers of safety and quality in terms of products and ingredients.

Ingredients: all flavourings used are to be approved for food use (in practice, in countries with existing regulations, all ingredients tend to be supplied by the same companies that supply flavourings to the food industry and therefore the appropriate quality and handling standards are already in place). “Flavourings are important because they are used by all vapers who have quit smoking and are of vital importance in their effort to quit and stay off cigarettes” – Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, leading cardiologist.

Product standards: for liquids and devices should provide for true and fair information about ingredients and sell-by date, warnings and consumer messages, child-resistant liquid containers and stewardship requirements including ‘person responsible’ and ‘means to recall’.

[anecdotally, the evidence from the UK and EU suggests that, if vape e-liquids are readily accessible to adult consumers and flavours/ingredients are regulated to food standards, users do not need to, and in fact do not, mix their own liquids, further ensuring public health safety.]

Where to vape: generally, factasia favours light-touch regulation here, permitting vaping in public places and largely allowing proprietors the choice of whether they let their customers use ECs.

Online purchase: enact regulations that will have the effect of controlling internet supply/online purchase: if products and e-liquids of satisfactory quality are readily available at retail level to adult consumers, the demand for purchase online is expected to decline sharply. Such availability would also avoid the development of the drastic illicit-supply situation that has arisen with conventional tobacco products. Both unregulated online and illicit supply are impossible to control and can represent a hazard for consumers.

Nicotine handling: for the handling of nicotine in bulk (ie industrial or commercial quantities), manufacturers or distributors should be required to comply with all relevant legislation, but this is likely to be in place already under hazardous-materials or similar regulations. The EU has Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulations (REACH) and there is also a British Standard. REACH is a regulation of the European Union, “adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.

“In principle, REACH applies to all chemical substances; not only those used in industrial processes but also in our day-to-day lives, for example in cleaning products, paints as well as in articles such as clothes, furniture and electrical appliances. Therefore, the regulation has an impact on most companies across the EU.

“REACH places the burden of proof on companies. To comply with the regulation, companies must identify and manage the risks linked to the substances they manufacture and market in the EU. They have to demonstrate to ECHA how the substance can be safely used, and they must communicate the risk management measures to the users.” [source: European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)]

Permits for retailers: a licensing regime, necessary in many Asian contexts but simple to enact and providing authorities with an effective means to enforce quality and safety standards and prohibit under-age or illicit sales.

Controls on marketing and retailing to target adult smokers: to suit cultural and social climate in individual countries.