Following a recent tragic report in Australia of a baby dying from exposure to nicotine liquid, we address current vaping laws and why they should be of paramount importance, both in the UK and worldwide.

The details of this devastating incident, which occurred on the 6th of February in Victoria, Australia, are still under investigation. However, the infant’s death has led to louder calls for stronger liquid nicotine sanctions with smoking cessation campaigner, Quit Victoria, demanding that the Australian Federal Government gets serious in terms of cracking down and acknowledges the dire need for more basic consumer safety standards.

Frighteningly, the coroner dealing with the case reported that just a single millimetre of liquid nicotine concentrate is enough to be fatal to a child if ingested, inhaled or splashed in their eyes. A spokesperson for Quit Victoria added that there has been a significant increase with nicotine poisonings over the last few years, particularly amongst children, and that child-proof and bland packaging would go a long way to helping prevent further tragedies.

This alarming increase has corresponded with the rising popularity of international e-cigarette usage, though now more than ever it is evident that legislation needs to be significantly tightened up. Particularly in relation to the export and import of nicotine products, which are currently outlawed in Australia but can still be purchased from international retailers and mailed into the country undetected.

Finding a benchmark

In the UK, we are extremely fortunate to be protected by stringent legislation pertaining to the European Union Tobacco Product Directive (EUTPD), which regulates:

  • The size of containers holding liquid nicotine, to exceed a capacity of no more than 10ml
  • The strength of liquid nicotine limited to 20% or less
  • The packaging for liquid nicotine, which must be both child-resistant and tamper evident
  • The ingredients of the liquid, which include colourings, caffeine and taurine. These must have corresponding markings so that customers are aware of the content of the product
  • The labelling of the liquid, with warnings of possible side effects and rules for consuming
  • The advertising of liquid nicotine, which must be carried out in a socially responsible manner

Moreover, both e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be notified to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to obtain permission to be sold.

There is also a further regulation in force: all information on all kinds of vaping products is to be submitted by manufacturers to be approved by the government before they get the allowance to sell their product to the broad public.

Whilst many vape advocates may campaign for the government to reduce some vaping laws i.e. the current prohibition of vaping in public areas, we remain extremely grateful to have such comprehensive and protective legislation deeply entrenched in our country.

With initiatives such as the TPD and being within an industry just as highly regulated as that of the tobacco market, companies like ourselves are able to still meet the demands of consumers in a responsible and ethical way, giving them and their loved ones the confidence of safety, and protecting them against any possible adverse effects from vaping.

We’re also very proud to be part of the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), a not-for-profit body supporting its members through the implementation of the TPD, sharing the most appropriate good practices, and fostering research and manufacturing excellence in order to deliver a proportionate regulatory landscape surrounding the vape market. As a community, it is essential that we all take responsibility for implementing these positive changes.

At Red Box Liquids, we will continue to support our international partners and the wider public health bodies, to ensure that such robust legislation soon exists worldwide, as we strive towards a future where no link can ever be drawn between tragic fatalities and the vaping industry.