Table of Contents
  1. FDA Updates
    last updated 6/18/18
  2. Countries Where Vaping is Banned or Heavily Restricted
  3. United States - FDA Vaping Regulations
    National Legal landscape for vaping in the U.S.
  4. UK Vaping Laws and Regulations
    Article 20 and The Current Situation for EU Vapers

FDA Updates

last updated 6/18/18

June 2018 - The FDA has extended the comment period on its proposed flavor ban on vape juices to July 16, 2018. 

If flavors are banned from vape juices, we can be certain that the products we have access to will drop significantly in quality. Many vapers, will be forced to buy vape juice from overseas, exposing them to low quality ingredients and high prices or even go back to smoking.

Please comment or send a letter if you haven't yet. You can access the ANPRM comment section through the website.

March 2018 - The FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb has indicated that the FDA is moving along with further e-cigarette regulations

The FDA has also announced that they are proposing rules that will severely limit or outright ban a number of flavors from current and future vape juices

The proposed rules are currently under a comment period and everyone is encouraged to participate in letting the FDA know that as a consumer of adult products you appreciate having a wide variety of options available to help you stay smoke free.

10/16/17 -- New York Senator Chuck Schumer has called on the FDA to reverse its delay on imposing massive regulation on the vaping industry citing the "save the children" argument.

Senator Schumer held up a JUUL e-cig device and said the FDA should require mandatory purchasing age of 18 on all e-cigarettes saying that 1 in 5 teens have vaped in recent months.  Sen. Schumer is just one of many New York politicians saying that products are targeting teens with 'flavors' to 'hook them to tobacco.'

The current law in New York already requires a minimum age of 21 to purchase e-cigarette related products and juice.

10/1/17 - The FDA has announced that e-cigarette manufacturers have until October 12 to register their facilities and a list of products. This is just a two business week delay to account for problems the FDA is having with the registration process.

The FDA has also announced that it will be hiring inspectors to conduct non-confrontational inspections of manufacturing facilities. Keep in mind a vape shop can be considered a manufacturer if e-liquid is mixed on-site or even if the shop rebuilds coils for customers. Shops can still show customers how products work, assemble kits on their behalf and fix broken products. Violations can result in fines up to $250,000.

“We’ve opened up a pathway to new product innovations that we think can potentially provide nicotine to people who still want to enjoy satisfying levels of nicotine without the risk of lighting tobacco on fire. It’s not the nicotine that kills you, it’s all the other carcinogens in lighting tobacco on fire.”
-- FDA Commissioner Gottlieb on CNBC in August 2017

08/08/17 -- The FDA announces a campaign to target and discourage teen vaping. While this seems like more of the same stuff from the Obama years, keep in mind this program is just a part of the agency's overall strategy and this program may have been in development for quite some time.  

The press release also including a positive quote from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb:

“While we pursue a policy that focuses on addressing the role that nicotine plays in keeping smokers addicted to combustible cigarettes, and to help move those who cannot quit nicotine altogether onto less harmful products, we will also continue to work vigorously to keep all tobacco products out of the hands of kids.”

Commissioner Gottlieb has also said of vaping among the youth:

“Educating youth about the dangers of tobacco products has been a cornerstone of our efforts to reduce the harms caused by these products ... Including e-cigarettes and other ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) products in our prevention work not only makes sense, it reflects the troubling reality that they are the most commonly-used tobacco product among youth.”

07/28/17 -- The FDA has announced a major policy shift from previous administrations to the way the agency approaches tobacco and nicotine addiction.  

Part of the announcement was that the FDA would look at reducing the nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes by as much as 95%.  

This move could lead to more smokers either quitting all together or switch to safer devices such as e-cigs or heat-not-burn devices such as those being offered currently by tobacco companies.

Another part of the policy shift was that the agency recognized that while nicotine is highly addictive, delivery methods represent a "continuum of risk and is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes" and the agency is trying to strike “an appropriate balance between regulation and encouraging development of innovative tobacco products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes.”"

As part of this new balance the FDA announced a delay to the Pre-market Tobacco Applications, the costly regulations requiring manufacturers submit all products to FDA for approval has been delayed from 2018 until 2022.  This move is seen as a stay of execution by vapers and a commutation by others.  

In our opinion this delay will have several positive effects for the vaping community:

  • more vapers and less smokers
  • stronger and bigger companies with better access to the legal system
  • wider acceptance of vaping
  • more time for the unbiased scientific study of actual benefits and risks of vaping compared to traditional tobacco as opposed to just negative research (mostly originating in the United States) sponsored by Big Tobacco

The announcement by the FDA however did not move the product development freeze date of August 8, 2016 so we will not see an additional leaps in vaping tech or development more than likely for some time. The situation may change going forward as the FDA further revises its approach to alternatives to burning tobacco.

This policy adjustment may also encourage some state or local level anti-vaping crusaders to take legislative actions of their own as we have seen in the recent past.

Around the World and State (Local) Updates

6/05/18 - San Francisco voters ban flavored e-juice, upholding a city ordinance passed in 2017 which bans all flavored tobacco products. The campaigns supporting the ban were sending mailers pleading to save the children from the evil clutches of big tobacco and the opposition supported by R.J. Reynolds were urging voters to save menthol cigarettes as part of their weak public relations campaign.

11/27/17 - Indonesia, one of the only countries to not sign on to the World Health Organization's Tobacco Control Framework, is placing heavy prohibitions on the sale of e-cigarettes and related materials. 

Talking to a local newspaper, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that those citizens who use e-cigarettes can "become regular smokers". 

This is a country where an estimated 5 million children as well as 60% of the adult males are current smokers. There are essentially no restrictions on cigarette ads, but e-cigarettes are hurting sales; time for some new restrictions on smoking alternatives.

10/24/17 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a bill adding e-cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act which makes vaping illegal in all places that smoking is currently barred. 

“These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them" said Cuomo. "This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

These statements are the exact opposite of multiple studies dating back to 2013 showing that both nicotine content is far lower in passive (second-hand) vapor than cigarette smoke. Other studies indicate that 'toxic emissions' are so low (trace) in safe vaping conditions that they may not even much of a health risk to the vaper much less in second hand vapor.

10/17/17 - Australia has declared e-cigarettes to be 'dangerous' and have decided to ban all nicotine containing e-cigarettes, similar to Canada.

Policy experts in Australia believe that vaping is harming the quit smoking advances that have been made in the country. 

Tobacco control advocates in the country believe that the correct policy is to make current smokers and the population at large to understand that vaping is 'not a socially acceptable alternative to smoking'. 

10/11/17 -  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has signed a bill banning the use of e-cigarettes on school grounds citing the "kids like flavors" canard, saying "[vaping] is a method that has particular appeal to kids because it offers enticing flavors".  

The new law also requires child-resistant packaging on e-liquid.

Attorney General Kilmartin remarked on the law saying, “The popularity and use of e-cigarettes and vaping products continues to rise. While the jury is still out on the health effects of e-cigarettes versus the known health problems caused by traditional nicotine products, we can all agree that these products should be kept out of the hands of children, ...  Most troubling is that these products – especially e-liquids – come in a variety of enticing flavors, such as candy crush and gummy bear, which appeal to children. There is currently no such regulation on this toxic product with respect to child-resistant packaging.”

Not only does the A.G. think vaping may be as harmful as smoking but we should ban vaping for the children! It's not as if adults like having flavorful vape juice.  

California - Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes a bill that would ban vaping and smoking in state parks, which would have imposed a $100 fine on violators. A similar measure has already been in effect in San Diego.

Last year California raised the age required to purchase any e-cigarettes to 21.

9/24/17 - San Antonio, Texas considers a move to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes from 18 to 21.  

Raising the age requirements to 21 would follow states like California, New Jersey and Maine.  The city wide age requirements are justified by the city council to protect the kids.  

They can buy a rifle (or own but not buy a handgun) and sign up for military service at 18, go into lifelong debt and vote but you better not let them vape! 

New York City, NY -- Mayor Bill De Blasio signed in a series of laws targeting vapers and vaping related businesses. 

  • If a store sells cigarettes, the store cannot also sell e-cigarettes. No more getting your vape supplies at the convenience store or bodega.
  • If you own are a brick and mortar store that sells e-cigarettes, you now need a non-transferable license to sell any vapor products. So good luck selling that business if you want to move.
  • The number of brick and mortar store are going to be cut in half of the current number of shops in the city. 
  • There is no more vaping allowed in common areas in buildings that have 10 or few units. No more socializing for you, Outcast!

These laws aren't going to serve the citizens of NYC but it is a pretty big victory for the nanny state politicians and advocates. 

Connecticut - Governor Malloy is pushing a sales tax of 75% on e-cigarettes and e-liquid in a effort to close a $3.5 billion dollar budget shortfall. This budget move doesn't take into account that people will just stop going local and purchase online to avoid the tax. This tax will cripple the vape shops in that state just like the 40% tax did to the vaping industry in Pennsylvania last year. 

8/15/17 -- Experts warn that tourist caught vaping in Thailand could face up to 10 years in prison

Week of August 6, 2017:

  • The State of Indiana fixed a law passed in 2016 that enabled a single private company to issue permits for manufacturing e-juice causing a monopoly in the state. E-liquid manufacturers from the state are now able to make e-juice again as long as they follow federal laws requiring child-proof caps and labeling requirements.  Prices on 30ml bottles has dropped by more than 50% since the change.
  • India considers banning e-cigarettes.
  • New Zealand district of Whanganui bans public vaping
  • Maine Tobacco 21 veto by Gov. Paul Lepage, who called the law "an attempt to social engineer our lives, has been overturned by the legislature. Maine joins New Jersey, California and Hawaii in higher age requirements.
  • Citizens in San Francisco seek to overturn ban on flavored vape liquid with petition of 34,000 signatures well in excess of the 19,000 required to qualify for ballot access

Countries Where Vaping is Banned or Heavily Restricted

Vaping laws vary from country to country and you should always try to get a grasp on the local laws if you plan on traveling international.  A good way is to find an English speaking vaping forum or a Facebook group for the region.

Countries where vaping is currently banned:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Columbia
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Jordan
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uraguay
  • Venezula

Other countries where vaping is heavily restricted include:

  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iran
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

United States - FDA Vaping Regulations

National Legal landscape for vaping in the U.S.

The most important laws and bills and will update this page regularly so all vapers can stay up to date and can do their part.

Cole-Bishop Amendment

2018 - Since the U.S. congress has passed the omnibus bill, the Cole-Bishop is unlikely to be moved to a vote this year.

On the U.S. side the Cole-bishop amendment and bill, H.R.1136, and the new Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act introduced by California Rep. Duncan Hunter on April 27th 2017.

Introduced on Feb 17 2017 to challenge the FDA's deeming rule that will crush the vape industry. Cole-Bishop would challenge it by moving the grandfather date from 2007 to 2017, hence saving thousands of products that are already on the market from the agency’s extraordinary and outlandish fees for the licensing process which would put most vape companies out of business. 

All the products on the market could continue to be sold if the passed the agency standards. Cole-Bishop was a rider on the budget bill and was stripped out on the budget vote along with 159 other riders. This was bad news but it will have another chance in the next budget vote in a few months.

Rep. Hunter's bill goes a step further than Cole-Bishop. “Cole-Bishop is like gaining the inch, and Hunter’s legislation the yard.” Joe Kasper, Rep. Duncan Hunter's chief of staff. 

Here is how Gregory Conley, who is president of the American Vaping Association felt about it: “the FDA’s deeming ban is set to take effect less than three months before Senate Democrats have some of their toughest election fights in years. Just as vapers helped re-elect Senator Ron Johnson, vapers will vote out Senators who stand by idly as harm reduction products are yanked from shelves.” He went further: “Democrats are setting themselves up to experience a reality check on vaping in the November 2018 mid-term elections.”

Rep. Hunter's new bill-Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act

One step further than the Cole-Bishop bill

The bill is known as HR2194- The Hunter bill. The bill was formally introduced on April 27. Rep Hunter's bill would exempt vaping devices from FDA regulations by proposing regulating vape products as NRT's for harm reduction (what they actually are) instead of regulating them like horrible cigarettes.

It is a rewrite of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and goes further than any other congressional effort to separate vaping from tobacco regulation. That is the main focus of the bill but here are some other features of it:

  • Change the name of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) to the Center for Tobacco Products and Tobacco Harm Reduction.
  • Requires the FDA to recommend harm reduction strategies for nicotine and tobacco users
  • Requires the FDA to rank nicotine products by comparative risk, and report to Congress on the the comparative risk
  • Authorizes the FDA to inspect manufacturing facilities, and impose penalties on manufacturers not in compliance with rules
  • Prevents states and municipalities from defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products and creating more stringent restrictions than those in the federal rules
  • Authorizes the FDA to prohibit advertising and marketing to minors
  • Requires products to have serial or lot numbers
  • Requires device manufacturers to follow strict electronics and battery standards
  • Requires e-liquid manufacturers to follow existing standards of the American E-liquid Manufacturers Standards Association (AEMSA) until permanent standards are created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Scott Gottlieb confirmed as new FDA Commissioner

Scott Gottlieb was confirmed May 9th,he is a medical doctor, venture capitalist, consultant and cancer survivor.

This looks like a big win for the vaping industry. Dr. Scott Gottlieb is familiar with vaping as he has done business in the industry.  New FDA head  Dr. Scott Gottlieb, has so far maintained an open attitude towards vaping. He also stated that it is imperative that the matter of e-liquid flavors is viewed from all angles as the products may be inappropriate in one context, but relevant in another. Four years ago he wrote:

“FDA was to create a path to enable cigarette makers to transition away from smoked tobacco and win government approval of consumable products that used tobacco but presumably harbored less, and perhaps even none of the health risks posed by smoking. When this quid pro quo was pushed through Congress, the industry’s critics and allies each positioned it as a win-win. But it was dependent on FDA being able to establish – and maintain – a regulatory path that let tobacco get approval for new products that posed a “reduced harm” over traditional smoked cigarettes.”
-- Dr. Scott Gottlieb

It looks the new FDA head will be open to dialogue instead of the FDA's vaping is forbidden stance of the past. The former Surgeon General who has been incessantly campaigning against vape products, has also been recently dismissed. These two personnel changes are a step in the right direction for vaping in the U.S.A.

UK Vaping Laws and Regulations

Article 20 and The Current Situation for EU Vapers

After a long fight against article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) Totally Wicked lost its challenge and Big Tobacco along with similar vested interests won. Article 20 of the UK TPD is now in full effect.

This effects the everyday vaper but it also harms current and future smokers looking for a safer alternative than tobacco. Every employee of any business involved in vaping in the UK also has their job threatened.

What is Article 20?

Article 20 is part of the Tobacco Products Directive also known as the TPD. Article 20 seeks to prohibit advertising and introduce several cumbersome restrictions across products and liquids which will reduce choice and competition while driving up prices.  

New testing requirements and prohibiting advertising together will be financially crippling for manufacturers. Prices will have to go up to cover the testing and reporting requirements. Consumers will not be aware of products or suppliers through traditional means like advertising. 

The only companies that will be able to meet the financial burden of the new law will be the Big Tobacco companies themselves or their subsidiaries. 

Article 20 Legal Challenge

Failed in Court

The Article 20 Legal Challenge was brought forth by the Totally Wicked juice company based in the UK and supported by vapers worldwide. 

It sought to prevent the implementation of Article 20 of the TPD but it was defeated in court in 2016.  It's a terrible verdict for the citizens and also anybody in the vape business.

This is a bitterly disappointing end to a battle that has lasted more than two years. At its heart, was a fundamental dispute between those who recognize the public health potential vaping offers and therefore wish to see these products and their use flourish under a robust consumer regulatory regime, and those who either do not understand vaping or see it as a threat to established interests and therefore wish to see e-cigarettes subjected to disproportionate and inappropriate regulation.
-- Frasier Cropper, managing Director of Totally Wicked

New Rules and Requirements of the Tobacco Products Directive

TPD New Rules and Requirements List

The UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 implement the TPD in the UK, and came into force on 20 May 2016. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the competent authority for the notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers in the UK and is responsible for implementing the majority of provisions under Article 20.

The following lists are their words; notice how vague and broad the scope is of the new rules.

New Rules

  • Environment that protects children from starting these products
  • Information is provided to customers so they can make educated choice
  • Minimum standards for the safety and quality of all e cigarettes and e-liquids

New Requirements 

  • Require all e-liquids and e-cigarettes be notified to MHRA before they can be sold
  • Ban certain ingredients including Taurine, Caffeine, and certain coloring's
  • Include new labeling requirements and warnings
  • Require nicotine-containing products and their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident
  • Restrict e cigarettes to a capacity no more than 2 ml
  • Restrict the maximum volume of E-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10 ml
  • Restrict E-Liquids to a nicotine strength to no more than 20mg/ml
  • While removing certain ingredients that may pose a health risk is good, companies were doing that on their own. Consumers are switching to vaping mostly due to health concerns and the marketplace was already forcing ingredient disclosures from manufacturers. 

If you look at the restriction on devices as far as tank capacity goes, as well as E-Liquid container sizes and nicotine strength, doesn't that remind you of the cheap cig-a-likes that the tobacco companies were pushing years ago? Basically everyone in U.K. will eventually only be able to get high nic mouth to lung devices. Sorry U.K., no clouds bro.

Reactions from Around the U.K.

(about the failure of the Article 20 Legal Challenge)

Paul Nuttall of UKIP- “This ridiculous judgement may well mean some vapers will go back to tobacco, which is plainly not to be encouraged.”

The New Nicotine Alliance-“The resulting ruling from the CJEU places an undue burden on the industry that is predominantly made up of small business by enforcing a cumbersome, fragmented and expensive notification system for new and existing products that meet the stringent requirements of the Directive to reach the market.”

The Government’s own impact assessment of the directive showed that there is a very real risk that the provisions which relate to e-cigarettes will deter smokers from switching to vaping and may push some vapers back to smoking. It is a very sad day when a government is ‘forced’ to implement law which will harm the health of its citizens.
-- Sarah Jakes, NNA trustee

This Law Will Do More Harm Than Good

The TPD seems like a well timed gift to Big Tobacco manufacturers. People switching to vaping from cigarettes is threatening Big Tobacco profits and they need to crush their biggest competition by advocating for these laws to get passed.

These new rules make it harder for people to quit smoking and actually works to keep them smoking. Everything will cost more and vapers will get less. Arguably worse products will cost more and a decline in innovation will occur.

Small to medium independent operators will be effected most and will probably be unable to stay in business. 

Everyone must do their part in fighting these new rules and regulations worldwide. This was just a battle the war is still going on. All products not meeting the new regulations or requirements must be sold by and not after May 20th 2017.