Session 3: 2021 Seminars
MHRA Regulatory Update
The MHRA is the competent authority for a notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is responsible for implementing the majority of provisions under Part 6 of the Tobacco and related Products Regulations (TRPR) and the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. The TRPR introduced rules which ensure i) minimum standards for the safety and quality of all e-cigarettes and refill containers (otherwise known as e-liquids) ii) that information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices and iii) an environment that protects children from starting to use these. This session will present recent data and insight in to what the MHRA does and how they do it. Specifically focussing on: I) Post Brexit E-cigarette notification systems, requirements and challenges in the UK II) Overview of E-cigarette Yellow card data 2016-2021 III) Disposable E-cigarettes products and compliance with UK notification requirements IV) Supporting enforcement in a multi-agency framework.
The challenge of e-cigarette enforcement
Weights and Measures Authorities in Great Britain have a duty to enforce the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and Local Authorities have a duty to consider a programme of enforcement in relation to the Children and Families Act 2014 (prohibition of sale of nicotine products to under 18s). Trading Standards Officers are therefore in principle responsible for protecting the front line between illegal product and (potentially vulnerable) consumer as well as ensuring a level playing field and fair trading environment. But there are ever decreasing numbers of Trading Standards Officers and at least 250 different pieces of legislation to enforce – so how do the protectors decide who or what to protect? How do they prioritise the greatest threats and risks? This session looks at the current challenges for enforcement and the impact this has on manufacturers, retailers, consumers and children
- Kate Pike Co-ordinator - Trading Standards North West - Member of the Department of Health and Social Care National Tobacco Focus Group
A stitch in time: safeguarding UK market from youth uptake
While youth use of e-cigarettes remains low in the UK, particularly among those who have never smoked, but it could still be lower and there are straightforward ways in which we can strengthen our existing protections. Avoiding uptake among young people is an important part of a balanced approach to regulation of e-cigarettes. It ensures that young people are protected from potential of harm while ensuring health professionals and others have confidence in promoting products to the smokers who need them. Current loopholes in our laws, such as the ability to hand out free samples to children, and opportunities to ensure packaging does not exacerbate appeal to young people can sensibly reduce the risk of growing youth uptake and preserve the market for smokers who would benefit from switching.
Balancing regulation to achieve intended consequences
Thoroughly evaluating where the regulatory sweet spots lie requires careful critical thinking if the desired outputs, net of unintended consequences, are to be delivered. All too often, there is inadequate thought given to explore the potential for unintended consequences of regulation, which at face value aim to focus on consumer harm reduction, but often without the nuances that the real world brings. In this presentation, I will outline some of the more topical areas of regulatory discussion; from flavour bans, to plain(er) packaging, and to advertising and youth vaping, including the use of retail-based EPOS data. In doing so I hope to give a perspective on where sweeter areas may lie.
- Marcus Saxton Chairman - Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA)
Unintended market consequences from the regulation of vape products in the US, and the prospects for future regulation in Europe
The vape category is subject to differing regulation across the world, with many governments becoming more restrictive towards the category in the last few years. It is only recently that we have enough data in this very fragmented sector to show clear correlations between the adoption of a restrictive policy and the market and consumer changes which result. I will present our market data in the US showing clear growth in flavoured disposable vape products and synthetic nicotine which correlate to restrictions imposed on flavoured pod products and an increasingly negative outlook for the PMTA process. In Europe, I will present similar data showing market responses to the restrictions brought in by the Tobacco Products Directive. In addition, I will show some initial output from our second survey of European Parliament MEPs to demonstrate their understanding of and attitude towards new nicotine products in the lead up to being asked to vote on policy which will hugely affect the category in the EU in the years to come.
Panel discussion and live Q&A
Has the UK created a perfect template for e-cigarette regulation, will other countries follow?