Dear Tobacco Control Team,
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation.
Founded by some of the UK’s leading independent manufacturers, importers, distributors, and vendors, IBVTA is a not-for-profit trade association representing all responsible and ethical independent vaping businesses in the UK irrespective of the size of their companies and operations.
Based in the heart of Westminster, IBVTA is supported by a dedicated secretariat and a science and regulatory committee made up of engineers, chemists, and pharmacists.
The mission of IBVTA is to provide credible knowledge and guidance to support the independent vaping sector and promote constructive interaction between this industry sector and the scientific community, vapers, policy makers, and the general public.
IBVTA fosters research and manufacturing excellence in order to deliver a robust yet proportionate consumer regulatory landscape that adequately reflects the needs of vaping stakeholders and recognises vaping as a sector in its own right.
All IBVTA members are free from any ownership or control by the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.
IBVTA believes that unnecessary challenges to industry are presented by specific parts of the proposed legislation and comments as follows.
(3) The toxicity of nicotine containing liquids used in vape products is frequently overestimated based on flawed experiments1. Because of this the risks of dermal contact are also frequently overestimated. IBVTA believes that child resistant containers are a sensible and practical precaution for vaping device refill containers, but that leak free refilling mechanisms were an unnecessary embellishment within the initial legislation. Thousands of people currently expose themselves to small e-liquid spills on a regular basis when using the current range of vaping devices, yet none of these exposures result in adverse toxic reactions.
(4) The PRECISE study identified eight characteristics that could help ensure safe refilling, and four technologies from standards for refill mechanisms. None of these methods involve control mechanisms that limit flow rate on refilling. Just one stakeholder claims to have a patented docking system, but this can in no way be construed to be in any way equivalent to an industry standard.
(5) The standards identified in the PRECISE study2 simply identify that refill mechanisms should enable safe refilling, and do not attempt to ensure leak free refilling. Since these standards were developed by trade associations, consumer groups, health and safety regulators, and industry they should be considered sufficiently robust to form the basis of legislation. IBVTA notes that little or no consideration of these standards seems to have been made in the drafting of the legislation.
(6) IBVTA agrees that the BSI and AFNOR3,4 standards should be adopted as the basis for the legislation, but does not believe that this has been achieved in the current draft.
(7) IBVTA does not believe that alternatives to the proposed standards should be considered, particularly if they involve patented or otherwise proprietary technology. As suggested in the AFNOR standard4, to ensure a leakage free mechanism, the device and the refill container shall be compatible. In other words, manufacturers should indicate with a pictogram the diameter of the nozzle to allow a leakage-free refilling of the tank. This alternative will ensure a more leakage-free refilling than the proposed 20 drops per minute flow rate or “docking system”.
1. IBVTA notes that the many products delivered in glass bottles with child resistant pipette caps are not allowed for within the legislation. AFNOR standard XP D 90-300-24 specifically allows such caps to be used. BSI PAS 541152 does not prohibit them. They are a commonly used item within many IBVTA members’ product sets, and IBVTA sees no reason for their prohibition.
(a) The requirement for a non-detachable nozzle is not realistic. The requirement should be that the nozzle is firmly attached, or that a minimum “pull out” force is specified. IBVTA believes that the former should suffice.
The requirement that the nozzle is at least 1cm long ignores the fact that most refill containers have a nozzle of length 9.5mm. It seems highly unusual to demand an entire industry have much of the tooling for their packaging manufacture rendered redundant for the sake of such a small difference. This should be changed so that a length of at least 8mm or similar is required, allowing for variance in manufacture. Such a change would have no material effect on the refilling of vaping devices known to IBVTA.
The requirement for a flow control mechanism is an unnecessary over complication caused by what appears to be a misunderstanding of AFNOR standard XP D 90-300-2. The standard contains a requirement for the maximum rate of fluid loss from a bottle that is inverted and subjected only to atmospheric pressure, in order to limit the rate of spillage when a bottle is accidentally knocked over with its closure cap removed. It does not intend to limit the rate at which fluid can escape the bottle in the circumstances of refilling a vaping device, nor does it demand that a flow control mechanism be used to achieve this aim. The standard should be used with an understanding of its intent and context, rather than arbitrarily applying its parameters to loose approximations of its wording.
IBVTA believe that the filling time for a 2ml refillable vaping device will be unreasonably long at a filling rate of 20 drops per minute. Our members have tested their refill containers, and have found that rather than filling a tank within 3 – 7 seconds, as is currently the norm, this operation will take 5 – 6 minutes should an effective flow control mechanism be mandated. This is likely to frustrate users to the point where they simply break or cut open the container, or try to disable the flow control mechanism, presenting far higher risks of spillage than existing refill mechanisms.
(b) IBVTA does not support the option of a “docking system” that only allows fluid to flow when vaping devices and e-liquid refill containers are connected, as this should be rendered unnecessary by the modification of option (a) to allow safe refilling by any reasonable method. Such systems have not been developed by IBVTA members as there has been no commercial benefit to be realised from them. This speaks volumes about the necessity of their development. There is none.
2. IBVTA understands the need for filling instructions to be supplied with all vaping devices that can be refilled, but believes that instructions for refilling would be superfluous with e-liquid bottles. Most users expect and are able to fill any device from any commercially available e-liquid bottle, and the wording “Fill according to the instructions for your vaping device” would provide sufficient information for all users.
Independent British Vape Trade Association
50 Broad Way
London SW1H 0RG
- Mayer B. How much nicotine kills a human? Tracing back the generally accepted lethal dose to dubious self-experiments in the nineteenth century. Archives of Toxicology, 2014. 88(1): 5-7.
- PAS 54115:2015. Vaping products, including electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, e-shisha and directly-related products. Manufacture, importation, testing and labelling. BSI Standards Ltd, 2015
- Norme XP D 90-300-1. Exigences et méthodes d’essai relatives aux cigarettes électroniques. AFNOR, 2015
- Norme XP D 90-300-2. Exigences et méthodes d’essai relatives aux e-liquides. AFNOR, 2015