Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association

Tel : 01639 710 558

Email : support@ecita.org.uk

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How do I know if e-liquid is safe? 

Safety is a matter of perspective, nothing is absolutely safe. But risks should be mitigated wherever possible. The use of electronic cigarettes as an alternative to lit tobacco has been scientifically proven to be many times less harmful than smoking. (For more in depth information, please see 'Scientific Research'). We recommend buying from ECITA members, since their eliquids are routinely tested through the VKC auditing programme. Many non-member companies have also tested through us, and others may well be testing their products too. The Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU introduces significant testing and notification requirements which are likely to result in a clear split in the sector: legally compliant products, which have been tested and notified to the competent authority, and black market products, which may not have been tested at all. Cheap is not always better, particularly when it comes to the health of your lungs. We would urge all consumers to be very selective about where they shop, and beware of deals which look too good to be true – they usually are!

There are known inhalation risks with certain compounds which are routinely used in food flavourings, but which may cause serious damage by inhalation. For example, diacetyl and acetyl propionyl (AP) are linked to chronic and irreversible lung damage, so while switching to vaping is usually going to be far safer than continuing to smoke, it is really important that consumers are aware of the risks of untested products, which could contain these (and other) dangerous and harmful chemical compounds.

With the introduction of the Tobacco Products Directive, there is a significant focus now on gathering toxicological data to meet the requirements of that legislation. It is quite likely that other potentially harmful compounds will be identified, and we shall ensure that we provide updates on this as and when they happen. However, ultimately, it will be the consumers who choose which products to buy and use, so we would urge you all to be very selective when making this decision.

If you are in any doubt, ask your vendor to provide you with the evidence that their eliquids have been tested. If you purchase products from a shop or online and you are unhappy with the product, you should contact the place of purchase to discuss your issues. Goods are legally required to be fit for the purpose for which they are being sold, but personal preferences such as flavours/strength are not covered by that. For serious issues, unsafe practices, or dangerously faulty products, please contact your local trading standards officer https://www.gov.uk/find-local-trading-standards-office (link is external)

Are ecig batteries safe?

For the most part yes, but all lithium ion batteries have the possibility of catastrophic failure, due to their chemistry. However, if you use them and look after them properly, they will operate safety until they have reached the end of their useful life. One of the most important things is to make sure you are only using the USB charger that is supplied for the product – whether it’s a vaping product, or a mobile phone, sat nav, or any other device with a USB charger – and not just any old charger that fits. In all sectors using USB charging, there are some differences in the power levels across devices, so it is important to check that you are using the correct type of charger for any electronic device.

Battery failure occurs in many different products which use the modern battery technology, such as mobile phones and laptops. This can have dramatic – and sometimes horrific – consequences, but as long as you are vigilant and follow these few simple rules, you should be safe. Remember, when it comes to batteries, ANDINACK:

A:         Always buy batteries from a reputable vendor.

N:        Never over-tighten either atomiser or charger into the battery. Screw things in until they work, and then stop; never screw in until it is as tight as you can make it.

D:         Do not leave batteries charging unattended! (It’s always better to be safe than sorry.)

I:          If a battery or connector is damaged, do not use it (e.g. dents to the casing or damage to the connectors may be a sign of physical damage to the battery, or may cause a short circuit).

N:        Never leave batteries in your car. Extremes of both heat and cold can have negative effects on battery safety.

A:         Always use the charger that matches the battery; (don’t mix and match chargers and batteries from different brands or models)

C:         Check that the contacts are free of e-liquid, or any other contamination, and clean with a cotton bud or tissue if needed.

K:         Keep batteries, chargers and plugs dry. (Obvious, but important!)

As an extra layer of safety, there are products available to enclose batteries while charging, usually called ‘Li-po bags’. These are intended to contain any failure of the battery while charging, but should not be used as a substitute for all of the advice above!

Are ecigs regulated?

Yes, very much so. Under the current consumer regulations, there are over 21 EU and UK directives that apply to vaping products, including Conformite Europeene (CE), Regulations of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), Weight and Measures, etc. The VKC auditing programme checks that vendors have complied with all the legally required measures to ensure quality and safety standards.

In 2016, the Tobacco Products Directive is being implemented, and introduces a significant level of restrictions and requirements, in addition to the already existing regulations. This will be a challenging time for the sector, but we are working hard with colleagues across Europe to try to assist the sector in meeting these burdensome demands. We are grateful to the UK Government for the pragmatic approach it has taken with the UK implementation of this EU Directive, but the law itself is terribly prescriptive, so there is only so much that can be done to mitigate the damage. Other Member States in Europe are taking different approaches, and it will remain unclear for years to come as to how this Directive – which was intended to “facilitate the smooth functioning of the European Union” – will be harmonised. For the foreseeable future, vendors will have a very difficult job to work out what the requirements are in each Member State in which they wish to place products on the market.  

Will ecigs help me quit smoking?

Electronic Cigarettes are an alternative nicotine delivery system to lit tobacco. Many people use them in this manner to help reduce the harms associated with smoking tobacco, if they are unable or unwilling to give up nicotine. Some people also go on to reduce their nicotine intake and some eventually stop smoking and vaping entirely. So the simple answer to this question is: ’If you want it to’. People stop using lit tobacco in any number of ways, from ‘Cold Turkey’ to medication (Champix), Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patches, gums etc) and/ or behavioural support. Some even use chocolate, worry beads, or regular exercise! Electronic cigarettes are just another tool in the box; how you use the tools is up to you.