The popularity of Shake and Vape Liquid – adding nicotine shots to nicotine-free e-liquids – is increasing throughout Europe.
The practice enables vapers to get round restrictions laid down in the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), enabling them to get more than the regulation 10 ml of nicotine-containing e-liquid.
Clearly an attractive new option for vapers, shake and vape is the subject of an in-depth ECigIntelligence report on the German market.
For the purposes of the report, only e-liquids sold with room in the bottle for nicotine shots (short-fill) were considered. For example, a 100 ml bottle containing 100 ml of e-liquid would not be included, but the same quantity of e-liquid sold in a 120 ml bottle would be.
Nicotine shots don’t come with different flavor options and there are only two kinds to choose from, so the majority of retailers in Germany stock only one type. There’s little opportunity for unique branding and little demand for choice.
Nicotine shots are generally offered in packs of one, two, three, five or ten bottles, but only the ten-pack offers a significant saving to the customer.
The range of flavors available in ready-to-mix e-liquids is limited – less than half the number available in other formats. However, that still allows for greater branding opportunities and consumer choice.
It is impossible to understand how anybody could support this business practice, but Vaping With Vic’s Vic Mullin gives it a good attempt: “I’m pretty sure UKVIA will pull all these tweets down when I go public with this. UKVIA is throwing the shortfall market under the bus.”
UKVIA hasn’t seen any reason to withdraw from its position and stands by the fact that untested, unregulated liquids pose a credible risk to vapers and the industry. It’s press release states:
“The UKVIA is concerned that zero nic vape juice could present a potential danger to consumers unless brought in to line with the existing regulations and testing standards that govern nicotine-containing liquids.”
“Liquids without nicotine fall outside most of the existing regulations and standards, that ensure quality and safety. We have conducted tests on a number of products that were of concern to us and found worrying levels of acetyl propionyl that would otherwise be banned in a nicotine-containing liquid.”
“This situation is a classic example of poorly thought-through regulation and the law of unintended consequences. We have raised this issue with government, regulators, and Parliament on a number of occasions – and so far our concerns have fallen on deaf ears.”
“Our members are focused on providing best in class products, that have consumer enjoyment and safety at their core. To be clear we are only concerned about a minority of products. However, elements of the industry are exploiting this ‘loophole’ and are thereby undermining the hard work of responsible manufacturers.”
“This situation is being perpetuated by irresponsible marketing utilizing platforms such as Amazon. Consumers, understandably, cannot be expected to know the exact components of the liquids that they are purchasing. A lack of due diligence by prominent online retailers, like Amazon, is allowing the market to be flooded with potentially dubious unregulated liquids.”
“What’s more, zero nic vape juice is not subject to the same advertising and marketing standards. We are deeply concerned that a number of products are ignoring copyright and utilizing marketing methods that most reasonable people would regard as irresponsible. Due to the lack of consistency of regulation, these products are able to be released to the market without sufficient testing which is creating a race to the bottom on standards, leaving consumers unnecessarily exposed.”
“There is no longer a level playing field for those companies who have invested significantly to comply with regulations and are trying to do the right thing. Urgent action is required to bring regulations inline to protect consumers, prevent a potential public health issue and ensure vaping remains a viable alternative for those seeking to reduce or stop smoking.”
Unquestionably, something has to be done about preventing this handful of miscreants from abusing intellectual property, including harmful substances and lowering the reputation of the vaping industry.
Unless you are Vic Mullin. “You should all hang your ******* heads in shame,” he says. “The majority of you are a bunch of money-grabbing ********.”
It remains a fact that all the independent juice companies who grew from of being POTV forum members, who invested all of their profits in better clean rooms and product testing to become TPD compliant - the likes of Manabush, El Diablo and Colonel Boom, who have done everything correctly – are all struggling due to unregulated and untested shortfalls. They all went to great lengths to formulate liquids that do not contain diketones. It is these responsible small-scale businesses we should be supporting, not those who ruin our reputation with the public and politicians.
Mood music emanating from parliament is that this issue will be addressed during the next review of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation Act 2016. Steve Brine MP recently stated: “Nicotine shots are regulated under the TRPR as they are a nicotine-containing product. As shortfalls do not contain nicotine when sold they are not regulated under the TRPR but are covered by General Product Safety Regulations. The Government is committed to conducting a review of the TRPR at a later date.”