Electronic Cigarettes

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 19th January 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps his Department is taking to prevent poorly manufactured or dangerous e-cigarettes being imported into the UK.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Education) (Women and Equalities) , The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

All products intended for use by consumers are regulated under the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) 2005 which implements the EU’s General Product Safety Directive (GPSD). A producer must not supply a consumer product unless it satisfies the general safety requirement (regulation 5 of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005). Further still there is also robust legislation, in the form of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations; these implement into UK law the European Council Directive 2006/95/EEC - commonly referred to as the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) - which cover electrical products such as chargers. This requires the charger to be safe and constructed to good engineering practice and be supplied with relevant safety advice and operating instructions. The enforcement of the legislation falls to Local Authority Trading Standards Services.

The revised Tobacco Products Directive (Directive 2014/40/EU), which will enter into force from May 2016 will ensure a high level of health protection for UK citizens. It will establish new rules for the safety, quality, ingredients and presentation of consumer electronic cigarettes, as well as refill mechanisms. The new regulations will require six month prior notification of a range of information before either e-cigarettes or refills are placed on the market.

In the meantime, the Department is currently funding a market surveillance project led by Dorset Trading Standards and involving 40 local authorities across England to ascertain whether there are significant product safety issues for the e-cigarette market in the UK. The main deliverable from this project will be a report with recommendations for future steps to be taken by industry, Trading Standards and Government. The report will be shared with the relevant enforcement authorities in the UK.

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