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United Kingdom Download PDFAdd to comparison

The UK abides by the EU TPD (2014). E-cigarettes are regulated under the UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (SI 2016 no. 507). This covers all of the UK but devolved nations may choose to apply greater restrictions. All e-cigarette products must be notified by manufacturers to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with detailed information on the products. Advertising is allowed on billboards but not on TV and radio. Legally there are no restrictions where you can vape but companies, public transport and public buildings implement their own restrictions. E-cigarettes are subject to a 20% Value Added Tax (VAT however, if they are regulated as Medicines, a 5% tax is levied instead. No 'medicinal' products are currently available.
Selling e-cigarettes (containing nicotine) and control mechanisms
Sale of e-cigarettes
Allowed [1, 2, 3]
As tobacco products
Yes [1, 2, 3]
As medicinal products
Yes [1, 2, 3]
As consumer goods
Yes [1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

General use and availability
Legal to use
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal to sell e-cigarette device
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal to sell nicotine
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal to buy device online (personal use)
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal to buy nicotine online (personal use)
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal to import device - trade
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal to import nicotine - trade
Yes [1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Advertising & promotion
Public advertising allowed in all Media
No [1, 2, 3]
Advertising allowed at point of sale
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Are health claims allowed
No [1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Health
Minimum age restrictions on sales
Yes 18+ [1, 2, 3]
Child & tamperproof containers required
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Legal restrictions on vaping in public places
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Health warning on packaging required
Yes [1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Products
Notifications of new products required
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Restrictions on tank size
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Restrictions on nicotine content
Yes [1, 2, 3]
Restrictions on flavour range
No [1, 2, 3]
References

1. Vapetrotter website. Available at: https://www.vapetrotter.com/laws/

2. Global tobacco control website. Available at: https://www.globaltobaccocontrol.org/node/14052

3. Tobacco Control Laws website. Available at : https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/legislation/

Notes on methodology & limitations

Data has been collected from a range of sources which are openly available online, such as vaping information/regulation websites & direct from country's legislation where available. In a few instances information has been included which was received from individuals specialising in the field. The regulatory picture changes frequently and these data boxes show the situation at time of going to press. This website will be updated as/when new regulatory information is received. There are gaps in the data available - readers are invited to send in updated information to the GSTHR team.

Country News

  • Friday, September 13, 2019
  • Banning flavoured vaping products ‘would drive smokers back to cigarettes’

  • Responding to US President Donald Trump’s plan to axe flavourings due to concerns about youths taking up e-cigarettes, PHE said the flavours helped smokers switch from more dangerous tobacco. Martin Dockrell, head of tobacco control at PHE, said it plans to publish a comprehensive evidence review on the safety of e-cigarettes early next year. In a statement to the PA news agency, he said: “E-cigarette flavours are an important advantage that vapes have over smoking and play an important part in encouraging smokers to switch.

  • Monday, September 09, 2019
  • Ministers plan attack on vaping ads to deter children

  • Scotland could become the first country in Europe to crack down on vaping amid concerns that children might take up e-cigarettes.

    Holyrood will consider restricting publicity and promotion by vape companies, preventing them from advertising on billboards, bus shelters or in leaflets.

    Joe FitzPatrick, the Scottish public health minister, confirmed that the Scottish government was looking at ways to cut down children’s exposure to the products. He said: “This will make Scotland the first country in Europe to do so. [...]

  • Monday, September 09, 2019
  • E-cigarettes may damage the heart, scientists say, as they ask Public Health England to stop recommending vaping

  • E-cigarettes may damage the heart, scientists have concluded, and have called for Public Health England (PHE) to stop recommending vaping.

    Researchers looked at 38 studies into the cardiovascular impact of vaping and found worrying signs of damage in nearly three quarters of tests. [...] Asked whether PHE should now change its advice, Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the new analysis said: “The simple answer is yes.”

  • Monday, September 09, 2019
  • State Laboratory to test health impacts of vaping products

  • The State Laboratory is to begin testing vaping products on behalf of the HSE as concerns grow worldwide about the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes.

    Last week the laboratory [...] issued a tender seeking information about machines capable of analysing vaping products. The HSE wants the laboratory to test e-cigarettes and liquid refill cartridges for their nicotine content and other additives to determine whether they meet Irish standards or if they pose health risks.

  • Monday, September 09, 2019
  • Vaping 95% Safer? | Public Health England | Snippet

  • While the recent deaths and illnesses associated with vaping are tragic, the confounding of traditional nicotine-vaping with illicit black-market THC-vaping could have dire consequences.

    In this snippet of our exclusive interview with Public Health England, hear Dockrell discuss how vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and learn the science behind this determination.

  • Tuesday, September 03, 2019
  • UK’s biggest vaping firm attacks Government over smoking support cuts

  • The UK’s biggest vaping retailer has attacked Government cuts to smoking support services, and said it is investing to help address the issue.

    VPZ said it is set to launch a new support service in its stores to help smokers turn from cigarettes for good, amid the reduction in available support.

    Bosses at the retailer, which has 135 stores across the country, have criticised reductions in public health spending which they believe have made it “more difficult” for smokers to quit.