In a recent e-mail sent to businesses within the vaping industry, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provided clarification on the legality of certain products, which until now have fallen into somewhat of a grey-area.
Vapouround reviewer Ned Jones examines the following excerpts from the recent announcement, which outline the key points most likely to be relevant to retailers in the UK.
Supplying Non-Compliant Products and Components: Squonkers
“These products do not meet the requirements of the regulations if supplied with a squonk bottle/ reservoir or tank by any other name with a capacity above 2ml. Any refill containers supplied with a squonker must comply with the associated regulations.”
Tanks above 2ml
“Products found to contain non-essential elements that temporarily alter maximum tank size, such as plastic plugs and bungs will be subject to review if currently notified. Products found to feature a maximum tank capacity above 2ml will be removed from the published list.”
Packaging notified products with non-compliant accessories
“The MHRA would like to remind submitters that notified compliant products cannot be packaged with non-compliant accessories for supply in the UK market.”
The first point, regarding squonkers might come as a surprise. Such devices incorporate a small (generally 6-10ml) bottle into the chassis of the mod, which is used to feed e-liquid to an RDA. Traditionally speaking this isn’t what we might think of as a tank, and squonk mods have been around for years before the TPD regulations were finalised. However, with a sudden surge in popularity for the devices, it’s easy to see how the MHRA might feel that squonkers are a circumvention of the TRPR. There is still hope for this burgeoning sector of the vape market, though.
The squonk mod itself is still compliant, so from now on we may just see the bottles sold separately, which is a minor inconvenience at most.
The second clarification, which closes the loophole on pre-installed tank reducers, was nothing short of inevitable. Immediately after the TPD came into effect, manufacturers began fitting stoppers in tanks larger than 2ml. Ostensibly this reduced their capacity to the required level, but the vast majority of consumers simply removed these reducers, making the capacity restriction utterly meaningless. The purpose of a 2ml restriction remains to be a mystery to this day, but it is understandable that the MHRA wish to enforce the regulations agreed upon by the EU.
The third excerpt does seem to imply a solution for this problem, however. Alongside tank reducers, we have also seen many large capacity tank extensions packaged with 2ml tanks. Whilst this new clarification means we won’t see these in the same box, there’s nothing to say that “bubble-glass” accessories can’t be sold separately.
So, what’s the upshot of these clarifications from the MHRA? More packaging.