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IBVTA decries BAT’s action on disposable vapes  

March 22, 2023

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The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) said it becoming increasingly concerned that the tobacco industry and its affiliates are using the minority non-compliance to build a narrative that the independent vape industry cannot be trusted.

The trade body singled out a leaked report by the British American Tobacco (BAT) that said major disposable vaping brands in the UK contain illegal volumes of e-liquid. The tobacco major, which also owns Vuse e-cigarettes and Velo nicotine pouches, has reportedly sent the testing results to wholesalers asking them to de-list the products. A distributor of the named brand has, however, denied the claims.

“Whilst we recognise the findings that BAT have reported, and that have prompted actions which will drive greater compliance to this sector, it is important to recognise that vape products are known to be at least 95 per cent less harmful than the fatal products that form the mainstay of BAT’s business,” IBVTA said in a statement.

“Vape products are also known to be less addictive than combustible cigarettes. Their point of contention is on a technicality of non-compliance, which means they have a marginally longer life in use. The issue raised is not on product safety grounds, nor on any grounds of consumer confidence, as BAT have suggested.

“More specifically, it is important to recognise that any unintended consequence of BAT’s actions, and the associated media reporting could well lead to a lack of confidence from retailers and consumers in the vaping category. This could result in movement back to a product that is unquestionably responsible for tens of thousands of fatalities every year.”

IBVTA added that BAT’s request for the de-listing of products to meet the aim of compliance could risk vapers returning to smoking.

“Any claim that BAT have made about commitment to reduced harm should now be questioned. No matter how small that proportion, BAT are directly requesting action that can and will cause tobacco harm,” it said.

Commenting on the recent media reports of over filled vape products, IBVTA said it does not condone products that are non-compliant, however immaterial this is to consumer safety.

“We believe that some of the limits placed on vape products should be revised. Nonetheless, the TRPR notification process has historically formed a good framework for manufacturers and the wider industry to act to ensure good governance around product standards,” it said.

The organisatiuon called on the producers to adhere to the regulations in the strictest fashion and retailers to ensure that they only stock notified products, safe in the assumption that the manufacturer is delivering a product which meets the necessary regulatory requirements.

“Whilst many distributors are now implementing their own due diligence checks, which will add a further level of scrutiny, it remains the primary responsibility of the notifier/producer to ensure they strictly adhere to the regulations,” it said in the statement.

“Anyone either knowingly or unknowingly flouting these regulations must swiftly act to bring their product back into compliance, and the notification process enables this action under the guidance of regulators.

“Equally complicit are the retailers who choose to stock these products or suggest ignorance to where they are sourced. As an industry we must continue to support greater resources to enable enforcement agencies to act.”