- 1 Current E-cigarette Regulations
- 1.1 Section 1, Chapter 2 – Quality and Safety, General Product Safety Regulations as applied to Electronic Cigarettes
- 1.2 Chapter 3 – CE and RoHS/RoHS2
- 1.3 Chapter 4 – The Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations (2010)
- 1.4 Chapter 5 – Weights and Measures Regulations (2006)
- 1.5 Chapter 6 – Plugs and Socket Regulations
- 1.6 Chapter 7 – The Batteries and Accumulators Regulations (BMR)
- 1.7 Section 2, Chapter 8 – Environmental Responsibility, The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations, and the WEEE Directive (2002)
- 1.8 Chapter 9 – Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (1994)
- 1.9 Section 3, Chapter 10 – Further Consumer Protection (FCP), The Consumer Contracts, Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges – Regulations (2013)
- 1.10 Chapter 11 – Data Protection Act (1998)
- 1.11 Chapter 12 – The Advertising Standards Agency Codes, The Enterprise Act, and the Unfair Trading Regulations
- 1.12 Chapter 13 – Customer Service Standards
- 1.13 Section 4, Chapter 14 – Employer and Member Obligations, Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
- 1.14 Chapter 15 – Terms and Conditions of ECITA Membership
- 1.15 Chapter 16 – ECITA ISE Audits
- 1.16 Annex 1 – Legislation referred to in ECITA’s ISE
- 1.17 Annex 2 – Checklist to differentiate between illegal breaches of the smoking ban and legal use of electronic cigarettes
- 1.18 Annex 3 – Information about the Diversity of Electronic Cigarette Products
- 1.19 In Conclusion
Current E-cigarette Regulations
One function that ECITA fulfills is to maintain a list of regulations and standards that electronic cigarette companies must follow in order to be members of the association. This is called the ISE, or Industry Standard of Excellence. ECITA has done a great deal to further the vaping industry by developing, updating, and maintaining their E-cig ISE, and their contribution has both strengthened and furthered the development of the electronic cigarette market by giving customers more and better reasons to trust member vaping companies.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the regulations that make up this standard. Some of the more minute and detailed points may be shortened for the sake of brevity, though please keep in mind that you can visit the actual site and read ECITA’s official ISE regulations for yourself by visiting this page: http://www.ecita.org.uk.
Section 1, Chapter 2 – Quality and Safety, General Product Safety Regulations as applied to Electronic Cigarettes
This first section of the rules deals with the general quality and safety of the E-cig products manufactured and distributed by member companies. It basically gives companies the obligation to only distribute products that are going to be safe for all relevant activities that they may be used in, and for as long as is reasonably foreseeable (depending on the product).
The regulations begin by defining what constitutes a ‘safe product’. A safe product is a product that, according to ECITA, is said to present “no risk or only the minimum risk compatible with the product’s use and which is consistent with a high level of protection for consumers.”
The next part of this chapter has to do with assessing the safety of products. This is done by looking into a number of different categories, including…
- The characteristics of the product
- It’s packaging
- The instructions for its maintenance, use, disposal, and assembly
- The effect that it could have on other products with which it may potentially be used
- The labeling that’s used to give the consumer information about it
- The different and number of categories of consumers who might be put at risk while using it, especially if these categories include children and the elderly.
The regulations go on to state that producers and distributors are required to provide their consumers with information (like warnings and other relevant info that could indicate any potential risks), and are also supposed to keep themselves informed of any new potentiality of danger. Of course, different types of products might require different steps to ensure safety and quality – but this is all explained in the regulations quite satisfactorily.
The regulations then go on to state that if a product is found to be dangerous, the company that produced and/or distributed it is supposed to go through the proper procedures (using a notification form and the product recall procedures that are supplied to ECITA members) to ensure that the situation is rectified. This could have any number of affects. It could result in warnings about public risk, or could even possibly lead to the product being pulled from the market, banned, recalled, or any/all of the above.
The requirements for making these notifications are quite specific, and are listed on the ECITA website on this page: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/05-section-1-quality-and-safety-qs-chapter-2-general-product-safety-regulations-applied.
The specifics are rather detailed, and honestly make for less than interesting reading material unless you enjoy reading legal rules and regulations, but they do lay out a basic framework for how to deal with quality and safety. They define what constitutes a safe product, and lay out a very detailed procedure for how to handle a situation in which an unsafe product was accidentally released without the manufacturer realizing that it could potentially be dangerous.
It’s also specified in the rules that unsafe products isolated to specific batches or identifiable groups may not warrant an all-out notification. An example of such a situation might be a problem that occurred on one assembly line that caused a particular batch of the product to be defective, etc. The regulations explain that full notification might not be necessary in some cases, and lays out the framework for dealing with such incidences.
Next, there are regulations for cooperation with enforcement authorities. These regulations basically state that member companies should do their best to cooperate with the proper legal authorities whenever it would be required and/or helpful to do so.
Next are regulations regarding producers. First, a producer is defined. The producer is defined in relation to the product as one of the following…
- The entity that manufactured it
- Any person who represents the manufacturer by putting his trademark or name on the product
- Anyone who reconditions or performs repairs on the product
Next, the regulations list the responsibilities/duties of the producer. These are outlined as follows…
- To provide the consumer with information regarding the risks associated with the use of the product
- To outline precautions that should be taken to avoid the risks
- To take whatever measures are necessary to be informed of possible risk information, so that appropriate measures can be taken if previously unseen dangers are discovered
ECITA actually supplies a pretty decent list of examples, which you can find on the website. They then go on to talk about how more complex products will require more vigilance and attention from the producer, and encourage such activities as regular product testing and an ongoing sampling program.
The regulations then talk about the obligations of distributors. They label a distributor as any professional in the supply chain whose activities don’t really have a direct impact on the safety of the product. This includes, agents, shops, retailers, and wholesalers. There is also a clause for dealing with downstream distributors, and for making sure that they also have access to the product recall procedures and other applicable information.
Distributors are supposed to make sure that their products (those that they stock and carry) are safe. They’re also supposed to maintain a paper trail that would help them to determine the origin of any unsafe products that might come into their possession.
Information! In addition, it’s stated that distributors are supposed to participate in monitoring the safety of their products. They’re also supposed to help pass on risk and danger information, should any become available. This could also include cooperating with the proper authorities and taking action to help avoid or remove any risk of danger that has become newly apparent.
Chapter 3 – CE and RoHS/RoHS2
The third chapter of the ECITA rules and regulations has to do with the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive and the Low Voltage Directive for all products requiring mains electricity (relevant Directives for CE). The chapter focuses mainly on the requirements for E-cig conformity within the spectrum of these categories.
CE actually stands for Conformité Européene, or European conformity. The CE mark symbolizes that the product marked with it conforms to all applicable EU requirements. It is a declaration of both of the following…
- That the product so marked conforms to all applicable EU provisions
- And that all of the appropriate procedures for conformity assessment have been carried out on the product
In addition, any product that bears the CE mark (as of the 2nd of January, 2013) is also presumed to conform to the requirements of RoHS2. This means that the product would not contain a more-than-allowed concentration of values, as mentioned in different sections of the RoHS2 (Annexes 2, 3, and 4).
This means that…
- The manufacturer is required to provide the testing and certification to prove that the product has been shown to comply with CE requirements
- Manufacturers who produce modified E-cig hardware may certify themselves if their products are shown not to interact with other products electromagnetically, and that their chargers and/or batteries are at least sufficiently safe. ECITA actually performs battery and charger testing for both members and non-member companies. Anyone interested in this service should contact ECITA for more information.
- Retailers can proceed to certify products themselves, even if those products have been previously self-certified – to help prove that the product will not carry a high risk for users. This actually doesn’t apply to electrical plugs on chargers, however, which are dealt with in a different section (CHAPTER 6 PLUGS AND SOCKET REGULATIONS).
- The CE testing report and certificate must contain the model numbers which correspond correctly to the product in-question.
- The company must have different CE testing reports and certifications for each product; or a testing report and certificate with separate model numbers on it from one manufacturer.
Note: these guidelines apply only to hardware – not to E-liquid.
The next section has to do with RoHS. These ECITA regulations are drawn up from key documents provided by both the UK and EU Governments. The guidelines recorded in this section are specifically tailored to reflect what is relevant to the E-cig industry.
There is some pretty detailed information here that has to do with RoHS compliance – but the regulations can basically be summed up in the following points.
- Product hardware must come with an RoHS testing report and certificate from the manufacturer or producer.
- If there is any possible chance that a component of the product could contain a harmful substance, like cadmium, mercury, or lead, independent verification must be kept on file to prove that the components of the product are safe.
- If a retailer is choosing not to get RoHS certification from the manufacturer, then EU testing will need to be done according to the specified parameters.
- Manufacturers of electronic products are expected, under these regulations, to promote environmental responsibility in all situations.
The next section has to do with RoHS2. These guidelines are used to apply CE markings to electrical and electronic equipment and require manufacturers to prepare an EU Declaration of Conformity, which would show that they have successfully complied with all of the applicable legal obligations.
At the moment, the E-cig industry was already covered under RoHS1, so the extended restrictions of RoHS2 do not necessarily apply to companies in this market – though there are a few documentation requirements and new processes that companies will need to follow under it. In addition, all businesses (with the exception of distributors) will need to keep compliance documentation within their possession for a minimum of 10 years.
There is some pretty detailed information about RoHS2 on the ECITA website, which you can view here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/06-qs-chapter-3-ce-and-rohsrohs2. It’s pretty technical for casual reading, but those who need to know some of the finer points regarding how it works with the E-cig industry may find it useful.
Next, Chapter 3 talks about Enforcement.
The office responsible for ensuring compliance with RoHS Regulations in the UK is the National Measurement Office (as appointed by Statutory Instrument 2012 No: 3032). ECITA has found the NMO to be a ‘very competent enforcement agency’. They’re committed to assisting businesses on the road to compliance achievement, which is definitely a good thing for the industry.
Next, the regulations go on to define the manufacturer and the sub-contractor in regards to RoHS regulations. They also go on to describe, in very specific detail, the obligations of the manufacturer under the regulations. Once again, this information is very technical and is incredibly detailed – but if you should wish to review it, you can visit ECITA’s website and view that specific page here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/06-qs-chapter-3-ce-and-rohsrohs2.
Next, the regulations go on to talk about EEE. They begin by defining it as “any equipment with a voltage rating not exceeding 1,000V for AC and 1,500V for DC that requires electric currents to function.” This definitely causes E-cigs to fall under the realm of EEE – which makes it easy to see which regulations do and don’t apply to the industry. Spare parts, such as cables and accessories, are also EEE.
It’s also worth mentioning here, yet again, that E-cigs and E-cig products definitely fall within the scope of RoHS2, so it’s important to include applicable product markings and to produce the correct compliance documentation, just like you need under RoHS1. More specific information regarding these policies is available on the ECITA website.
Next, the regulations move on to talk about restricted substances.
These appear in ANNEX 2, and are shown with the maximum tolerated concentration values by weight. In other words – any more than this is not allowed in homogeneous materials.
- Lead (0.1%)
- Mercury (0.1%)
- Cadmium (0.1%)
- Hexavalent Chromium (0.1%)
- Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) (0.1%)
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) (0.1%)
The biggest problem-material on this list is lead, which is used on solder and is impossible to detect without testing.
The next section of the regulations has to do with The New Legislative Framework. This basically has to do with how legal terms are used in regard to the E-cig industry. The NLF, as it’s called, is said to be a modernization of the new and global approaches, which were developed in 1985 and 1990 respectively. There are some other rules referenced that govern how terms should be used, including…
- Regulation 765/2008
- Decision 768/2008
The NLF performs several vital functions within the industry, and should definitely be utilized by any applicable companies and businesses. According to the official website, the objective of the New Legislative Framework is as follows…
“To help the internal market for goods work better and to strengthen and modernize conditions for placing a wide range of products on the EU-market.”
The package of measures contained within the NLF are intended to do the following…
- Better protect professionals and consumers by improving market surveillance (this includes imports from other countries)
- To improve the level of quality for conformity assessment
- To clarify the meaning of the CE marking
- To establish a toolbox of legal measures that build a common legal framework that can be used for future applicable legislation.
The regulations then go on to discuss several other very technical issues, including the following…
- Declaration of conformity (an EU DoC that serves as part of the conformity assessment procedure for new products)
- Technical documentation (as applicable according to RoHS2 regulations)
- CE Marking (for all applicable EEE products and according to RoHS2 regulations)
- Spare Parts (and how they are supposed to comply with EEE standards)
- Whole Products
- Harmonized Standards
- RoHS markings
- Timings for compliance and market placement (how quickly products need to comply with applicable requirements)
- Product marking requirements for traceability
- Enforcement of substance restrictions
- Substance restrictions in the production process
- Homogenous material
A lot of this information is very, very technical. For the consumer looking into ECITA regulations, providing a detailed list of all of these technical entries would probably make for very ‘labor intensive’ reading. As a general rule, however, it should be known that ECITA goes to great lengths to make sure that safe compliance is practiced in all of these areas and more.
- Electrical device safety
- The role of the manufacturer in the practice of designing and creating safe electrical devices
- Restricted substances
- Legislative terms where applicable
Keep in mind that you can read this entire section of the ECITA regulations here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/06-qs-chapter-3-ce-and-rohsrohs2. If you need more information or need to know specifics, this is where you should go.
Chapter 4 – The Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations (2010)
These regulations are basically in place to help keep consumers safe when they are buying potentially hazardous products. Some examples given of this include child-proof packaging, precautionary statements, and other similar elements.
CLP (Classification, Labeling, and Packaging) is technically the responsibility of the supplier. Of course, in the E-cig industry, the use and sale of nicotine is a big issue. The other main constituents of most E-cig and E-liquid products (glycerol and propylene glycol) aren’t acutely toxic, so the classification of E-liquid will really only require a level indicator for nicotine.
The first thing that’s discussed specifically is what the law requires from companies that are selling nicotine products. This can be found under the General Products Safety Regulations (2005), as well as in several other locations. In fact, many different laws and regulations might be called upon to decide what is and isn’t legal where the sale and distribution of nicotine is concerned, though you can find a complete list of requirements to take into account on the official ECITA website, on this page: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/07-qs-chapter-4-classification-labelling-and-packaging-clp-regulations-2010.
To put it very, very simply, this is basically what is required for the packaging of E-liquid containing nicotine.
- The heading “CAUTION” must be included on the packaging
- It must contain the text: “Keep out of the reach of children and pets”
- It must contain: “Only for use in/with electronic cigarettes”
- It must contain: “Seek medical advice if you feel unwell”
- It must contain: “May contain traces of [applicable allergens]”
- It must list the nicotine concentration in weight per volume percentage and/or mg/ml. This information must be displayed visibly on the label.
- The batch number must be visibly displayed
- It must contain a ‘Best Before End date’
- It must include contact details.
If the E-liquid is in a bottle and intended to be used to refill a device, then additional elements might be required. This gets a bit more detailed and technical, and contains a few conditions – which can be found on the official ECITA page here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/07-qs-chapter-4-classification-labelling-and-packaging-clp-regulations-2010.
Though there is a lot of very technical and detailed information on this page, it basically outlines regulations for how to classify, label, and package E-cig products – especially in regard to products containing nicotine. This information is meant to make the products safer for consumers and their families.
Chapter 5 – Weights and Measures Regulations (2006)
This section of the regulations discusses packaging. It begins by defining it rather specifically, by stating the following…
“For the purposes of the Regulations a “package” is defined as the combination of a product and the individual package in which it is packed when: it is placed in a package of whatever nature without the purchaser being present, and; the quantity cannot be altered without the package either being opened or undergoing a perceptible modification.”
The chapter then goes on to describe what the law requires, and issues a set of three rules which packers must comply with.
- The contents of the packages in-question should not be less than the nominal quantity on average
- The number (proportion) of packages which are short, but fall within the realms of the tolerable negative error, or TNE, should be less than a specified level
- None of the packages should be short by more than twice the TNE
The regulations go on to say that importers should be sufficiently and rigorously checked to make sure that packages meet these three rules. In fact, this also includes E-liquid bottles – which definitely fall under this jurisdiction. These checks are basically conducted by weighing packages. A more detailed illustration of this procedure can be found on the ECITA website, on this page: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/08-qs-chapter-5-weights-measures-packaged-goods-regulations-2006.
To put it simply, these rules are in place to protect consumers from getting shorted by badly packaged products. These standards require businesses to sell products that are all basically packaged similarly, so if you were to buy more than one product, you would essentially be getting the same amount of merchandise for your money (plus or minus a little, in correspondence with compliance to the rules listed above).
Chapter 6 – Plugs and Socket Regulations
This section is, according to ECITA, arguably one of the most important pasts of the ISE and E-cig regulations, mostly because it deals specifically with electricity that is supplied by the grid. Whenever you plug an electronic device into a mains plug, you run the risk of facing major problems if the device isn’t designed according to carefully considered safety standards – which is why this issue is so important for the electronic cigarette industry. In order to keep both E-cigs and the market safe for both consumers and manufacturers, it’s important that these regulations exist and that companies follow them specifically. This is why ECITA maintains and updates them as necessary, and why all member companies are expected to comply with them.
First, ECITA makes it a point to define a BS 1363 plug. Here is the basic, first-sentence definition they give on the website.
“A BS 1363 plug has two horizontal, rectangular pins for line (commonly termed “live”) and neutral, and above these pins, a larger, vertical pin for an earth connection.”
The regulations get pretty specific about how the plug is supposed to work and about all of the functions that it’s supposed to perform when plugged into the socket, but this information is pretty technical. As far as the average consumer is concerned, the main thing to understand is that ECITA has very, very rigid guidelines for how a plug and socket are supposed to work together, and that these standards are very, very safe. This section of the regulations also covers safety features that are supposed to be built into the plug and socket, as well as dimensions for how large the main components are supposed to be.
All in all, the section is very complete and thorough. You can read it for yourself (if you would like) on the ECITA website on this page: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/09-qs-chapter-6-plugs-and-socket-safety-regulations.
Chapter 7 – The Batteries and Accumulators Regulations (BMR)
This chapter, in conjunction with Chapter 8, deals with regulations that apply to those who supply batteries and electrical/electronic equipment. The regulations begin by defining the producer, which basically means any person in the UK who places batteries (including those that are incorporated into vehicles or appliances) onto the market for the first time in the UK on a professional basis.
Next, it goes on to talk about The batteries and Accumulators Regulations, which is basically a section about placing these products on the market, which is also called BMR. The BMR refers and applies to all electronic cigarette batteries that are used in E-cig products. The producer has a responsibility to make a number of declarations by law (and also by ECITA regulations) about the batteries that they sell, including the following…
- They must declare the weight of the batteries that they sell every calendar year. In the case of batteries that are incorporated into another device, only the weight of the battery part of the device counts toward this. The rest of the item doesn’t need to be included.
- They must be able to indicate the classification of the chemistry type of the battery in-question (for example, is it a lead-acid battery, a nickel-cadmium battery, etc.)
- They must not sell batteries that contain more than 0.0005% mercury or 0.002% cadmium.
Next, the regulations talk about information and due diligence defense, as well as the responsibility that companies have toward the selling of batteries in terms of their RoHS compliance.
Basically, this section is about how companies should deal with reliance toward information, and about a few of the responsibilities that they have regarding batteries and RoHS compliance. But this information is pretty technical, so we won’t go into too much detail. If you wish to read more about it, you can visit the official page here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/10-qs-chapter-7-batteries-and-accumulators-placing-market-regulations-bmr.
Next, the regulations talk about mAh, which is basically the acronym for MilliAmp hours. This figure is important because it is the easiest figure to use when distinguishing the overall capacity of a battery. To put this in the simplest terms, the higher the mAh, the longer the battery can be expected to last between charges. Of course, batteries with different mAh ratings can be used interchangeably in the same devices, as long as the size, shape, and connectors are the same and allow for such usage.
Information! A MilliAmp hour is specifically 1/1000th of an Amp Hour. So, in other words, 1000mAh is equal to 1.0Ah.
The next section of the regulations talks about USB chargers. They talk briefly about the fact that it’s important that batteries are never fully-tightened into the USB charger, but that they are only tightened enough to where the LED indicator light comes on.
Thankfully, regular and routine battery and charger testing is a part of ECITA membership – though outside companies can also ask for testing from the association. In addition, a full checklist of battery marking requirements is given to all member companies – so all of them will know how to legally and correctly mark the batteries so that they will conform to both UK laws and ECITA regulations.
Section 2, Chapter 8 – Environmental Responsibility, The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations, and the WEEE Directive (2002)
This chapter, along with chapter 7, is supposed to fulfill a number of different, important functions. It’s supposed to…
- Decrease the amount of harmful metal used in batteries
- Increase the amount of recycled waste used in batteries and other electronic/electrical equipment
There are two regulations that apply to this, and they are listed as follows.
- The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations (2009) (WBR)
- The Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations (2006) (WEEE)
This section and chapter are actually quite lengthy, but the material mostly consists of requirements set forth by these regulations based on what the law requires of distributors and producers.
The main focus of this chapter is to reduce the amount of hazardous metal used in batteries, and to increase the amount of material that gets recycled. These regulations are intended to protect consumers from dangerous materials and to protect the environment from waste that could be recycled and used again instead of discarded. It’s all quite technical, but you can read the literal requirements here, on the ECITA website: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/11-section-2-environmental-responsibility-er-chapter-8-waste-batteries-and-accumulators.
Chapter 9 – Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (1994)
This chapter was, in essence, designed to reflect changes in the international approach for reducing the impact of waste products on the environment. Firstly, the chapter talks briefly about the ‘New Approach to Technical Harmonization and Standards’, which was agreed upon by European Community Ministers in 1985. From here, the chapter goes on to define packaging – which is surprisingly technical, though you can read the definition here if you would like further clarification: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/12-er-chapter-9-packaging-and-packaging-waste-directive-1994-amended.
The end result, however, is a pretty literal, common-sense oriented definition that includes packaging as you might imagine it being defined – making it pretty easy to understand.
The regulations then go on to talk about if you must ‘register’ your business as a packaging producer. You must register your business if…
- It handles more than fifty tonnes of packaging per year
- The turnover of your company exceeds £2 million per year
There is also a pretty extensive definition for how to tell if you ‘handle’ packaging or not. The answer is basically yes if your business…
- Converts raw materials into packaging, or manufactures it
- Fills packaging of any type with products
- Sells goods (that are packaged) to customers
- Rents or hires out packaging of any time (pallets are an example of this)
- Operates a franchise
- Operates a licensed business
- Ever imports any packaged goods or packaging
- Is responsible for bringing packaging into the UK that will eventually end up being waste material in the UK
If the fifty tonnes of packaging that your business handles is second-hand packaging, however, that is being reused in any way while in its original form and for the exact same purpose as it was used originally, then your business is actually exempt from the registration process in this category.
The regulations then go on to discuss the specific legal requirements regarding packaging, including heavy metal limits, the enforcement of the requirements, derogation for glass packaging, and other existing regulations for packaging that may or may not pertain to your business in-particular. This information is pretty detailed, but you can look it all over in its literal and technical form on the official ECITA website if you have more specific questions about it. You can find it here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/12-er-chapter-9-packaging-and-packaging-waste-directive-1994-amended.
The basic purpose of this section is to protect consumers from dangerous packaging, and to give manufacturers an obligation to be responsible when they choose packaging for their products.
Section 3, Chapter 10 – Further Consumer Protection (FCP), The Consumer Contracts, Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges – Regulations (2013)
This chapter mostly deals with the business websites, cancellation policies, delivery, and exemptions of those who sell E-cigs, as applicable to both online businesses and those in brick and mortar locations.
This section of the regulations starts out by stating that ECITA checks member websites as part of the internal auditing procedures, just to make sure that they comply with all applicable regulations – including those in this section. They also state that they will audit non-member websites as well, and award certificates and reports if they pass.
Next, it states that any compliance issues found on ECITA member websites must be fixed within 7 working days of the infraction warning. If the problem isn’t fixed within that timeframe, a formal infraction will be lodged in that specific member’s file. If serious legal compliance issues are found, ECITA might report the failures to Trading Standards and/or MHRA as necessary or appropriate.
Member websites are expected to…
- Be free of medicinal claims
- Prohibit sales to minors under the age of 18
- Display a phone contact number somewhere on the site
- Avoid displaying indefensible claims
- Avoid advertising out of stock items for extended periods of time
- Avoid misappropriating a brand or trademark
- Supply clear and easy to understand product descriptions
The next thing that’s talked about in the regulations is CCR, or ‘Consumer Contracts Regulations’. These rules basically have to do with information, cancellation, and additional charges. There are definitely legal requirements for gathering and using information, as well as for handling cancellations and contracts—and the ECITA regulations conform with all applicable laws and also offer guidance that will help to make member companies more reputable in the E-cig industry.
These rules are actually quite detailed and technical, though a full version of them can be found on the ECITA website, on this page: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/13-section-3-further-consumer-protection-fcp-chapter-10-consumer-contracts-information.
These regulations are basically rooted in common sense and based on the UK laws pertaining to such issues. They’re designed to keep both businesses and consumers from getting ripped off – and do a pretty good job of it.
If you are a consumer, then you’ll realize that you have basic rights as such, which can be pretty easily found on the ECITA website or on the website of any member company. These rules are very important for business owners who act as ECITA members – and if this describes you, it goes without saying that you should be well-versed in them and implement them as intended.
Chapter 11 – Data Protection Act (1998)
This chapter begins by describing the Data Protection Act and what it does. This ‘framework’ is designed to balance the legitimate need for organizations to collect personal data from their customers for business-use against the right that individuals have to protect the privacy of their information. Even ECITA states, right on their site, that this framework is ‘complex and, in places, hard to understand’.
However, it is basically outlined by 8 pretty straightforward principles that dictate how it all works. These principles are essentially as follows, though there are a number of exceptions that definitely make them a bit more complicated. For the sake of brevity, we’re not going to list all of the exceptions here, but you can view them and the rest of this information by visiting ECITAs page on the subject, which can be found here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/14-fcp-chapter-11-data-protection-act-1998.
- Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless certain conditions are met (see official text for a complete list of conditions).
- It shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner that is incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
- It shall be adequate, relevant, and not excessive in relation to the purpose (or purposes) for which it is processed.
- It shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up-to-date.
- Personal data processed for any purpose (or purposes) shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose (or those purposes).
- It shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this act (for a complete list of these rights, visit ECITAs page here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/14-fcp-chapter-11-data-protection-act-1998)
- Appropriate measures shall be taken so that personal data is not processed in an unlawful manner, and to guard it against accidental loss or destruction.
- It shall not be transferred to a territory or country outside of the realm of the European Economic Area, unless that destination ensures an adequate level of protection, as specified in these guidelines and in applicable laws and regulations.
Next, ECITA provides a pretty detailed list of tips that businesses can use to help protect data, and gives a lot of examples of what sound business principles might look like in some of these instances.
In conclusion, the consumer should rest assured that members of ECITA will definitely protect the privacy of their personal information, to the fullest extent of the law, so that they won’t need to worry about breaches in security or trust.
Chapter 12 – The Advertising Standards Agency Codes, The Enterprise Act, and the Unfair Trading Regulations
This chapter discusses several different things.
- The CAP and BCAP Codes that were introduced back in October 2014
- The Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations (CMARs, 1998)
- The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations (BPRs, 2008)
- The requirements of ECITA with regard to the POS (Points of Sale) and advertising/promotional materials
The information given in this section is pretty detailed and specific, but it basically deals with protecting both businesses and consumers from misleading marketing, advertising, or promotional practices. To read the specifics of the regulations in regard to this subject, you can visit the ECITA page dedicated to it here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/15-fcp-chapter-12-advertising-standards-agency-codes-enterprise-act-2002-and-unfair-trading.
Chapter 13 – Customer Service Standards
This part of the ECITA Industry Standard of Excellence has to do with customer service. According to ECITA, “a large part of the perception of a company is dependent on its customer service,” which is definitely true!
This chapter deals completely with this subject, and contains a list of “Principles of Excellent Customer Service” that serve as guidelines for member businesses by equipping them with a universal industry standard to follow.
Here are the basics of the principles outlined in the chapter.
- Always exceed expectations
- Contact by telephone offers fast service, and should be the primary method of contact for customer-service-related issues
- Premium rate numbers must not be used
- As often as is possible, phone calls should be answered by a real person
- Whenever a customer leaves a message, they should get a response either on the same day or within 1 working day
- Emails should also be responded to either on the day that they were received, or within 1 business day
- The company must make every effort to solve complaints within 7 days. If a complaint is not resolved after 14 days, it is considered overdue and should be escalated as specified in the complaints procedure flowchart
- All customer complaints should be logged
- Stock control should exist on every ECITA member company website to prevent orders that cannot be filled
- If an item is expected to be out of stock for more than 3 months, it should be removed from the website. It should not be put back up unless it will be available for sale within 7 days.
There are also some statutes in the chapter that apply to the last point listed above, though these are fairly technical and detailed in nature. If you would like to read more about these main points, you can visit the correct ECITA regulations web page here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/16-fcp-chapter-13-customer-service-standards.
Section 4, Chapter 14 – Employer and Member Obligations, Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
This chapter of the ECITA regulations focuses on the Health and Safety at Work act of 1974, and serves more as an overview than a complete regulations guide. Of course, businesses in any sector will need to follow the act, so here, ECITA is basically reaffirming member company responsibilities. They also state that basic checks in this category are part of their internal audit program, though companies should be aware that they’ll need to pass external enforcement in the areas of Health and Safety to comply with all applicable laws.
These laws and regulations are, at the most basic level, designed to give employers a responsibility to ensure that, as far as is reasonably possible, they care for the safety, health, and welfare of their employees. They would also require companies who employ 5 or more people to prepare a clear, written statement outlining their health and safety policies.
There is also a health and safety law poster that all businesses are required to post where all of their employees can see it. Or, they also have the option, as an alternative, to hand out pocket-sized cards of the poster instead.
In addition, the ECITA guidelines cover the basic requirements of welfare facilities, health issue avoidance, general safety, and first aid. They also talk about what you should do in the event of an employee accident or ill-health incident, discuss employers’ liability insurance, and discuss a few other technical details.
These regulations basically mirror UK laws on workplace health and safety, and are designed to ensure that E-cig companies will take care of their employees and set a good example for the industry. You can read about them in greater depth by visiting the official ECITA web page devoted to them here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/17-section-4-employer-and-member-obligations-chapter-14-health-and-safety-work-act-1974.
Chapter 15 – Terms and Conditions of ECITA Membership
This chapter begins by explaining that ECITA will hold an electronic file on every member, so that they can keep track of compliance and any existing disciplinary details. It’s followed by the ECITA Membership Agreements/Code of Conduct, which is basically a document that outlines their terms and conditions for membership. It outlines the rights and obligations that come with ECITA membership, and provides a detailed list of rules that ECITA members must abide by if they wish to remain in good standing with the association.
There are far too many of these requirements to list within this document, but you can find them here, on the official ECITA website: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/18-emo-chapter-15-terms-conditions-ecita-membership.
The list is basically a summary of things previously covered in the regulations, along with some more technical requirements and common-sense-type rules pertaining to sound and ethical business practices.
This section goes on to address ECITA ISE Certificates of Excellence, which are awarded to both members and non-members who successfully pass ISE Audits and applicable tests. It also discusses infraction notices, which are issued to members who don’t comply with the laws, rules, and regulations as set forth by the association. There is also a section outlining the responsibilities of Members for their distributors and affiliates, which basically says that members are responsible for ensuring that those downstream are upholding ECITA standards. Distributors who do not meet ECITA standards are not allowed to be used by members, as they could tarnish the association’s good name.
Persistent offenders of the regulations will be expelled from ECITA, and their centrally-held records will then be forwarded to Trading Standards, if necessary, to ensure consumer protection.
If an expelled member was a shareholding board member, then they’re actually required to resign and relinquish to the association any and all shareholdings at their current market value.
There are also included requirements for expelled members who wish to attempt to become members again – though such members can never again become shareholders or hold board positions.
To read more about these issues and to see the specific regulations regarding these topics, you should visit this ECITA page: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/18-emo-chapter-15-terms-conditions-ecita-membership.
Chapter 16 – ECITA ISE Audits
This chapter is fairly short, and simply describes what these audits are, why they are performed, and how the audited company will be notified of the results.
ECITA has this to say about what the audits are for.
“The internal audit procedure is in place to ensure compliance with all the relevant legislation and standards, as applied to electronic cigarettes.”
These audits are intended to provide evidence of adherence to the ECITA Industry Standard of Excellence, and are conducted at regular intervals. Members who are audited will received an audit report within 7 days to see how their business faired during the process.
Annex 1 – Legislation referred to in ECITA’s ISE
Since there is a lot of legislation referred to in ECITA’S Industry Standard of Excellence document, this Annex is provided as a place where you can find it all in one place. If you’re looking for a link to any legislation referred to in ECITA’S regulations, then you will find it here. You can visit Annex 1 here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/20-annex-i-legislation-referred-ecitas-ise.
Annex 2 – Checklist to differentiate between illegal breaches of the smoking ban and legal use of electronic cigarettes
This Annex seems to be provided to give law enforcement officers a functional guide for distinguishing between E-cig use and analog cigarette tobacco usage. It includes a very detailed checklist that supplies pretty detailed information regarding the following…
- The difference in appearance between tobacco cigarettes and E-cigs
- The difference in ignition. Tobacco cigarettes and cigars must be lit by a flame, while no flame is required for E-cigs.
- That cigarettes require a receptacle to collect ash, while E-cigs produce no ash and require no ashtrays.
- That tobacco cigarettes will continuously emit smoke, while E-cigs will only emit vapour when ‘puffed’ on by the person vaping them.
There is some more information on the page, but these points summarize the major parts of the chapter. To view the complete list on your own, you can visit the appropriate ECITA page here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/21-annex-ii-checklist-differentiate-between-illegal-breaches-smoking-ban-and-legal-use.
Annex 3 – Information about the Diversity of Electronic Cigarette Products
This part of the regulations seems to deal more with public awareness than specific rules and guidelines. It seems to be dedicated to a fairly complex and detailed description of the different types of electronic cigarettes, as well as the components within them. The descriptions are complete with pictures, and do a great job of educating the reader about different types of E-cigs, how they look, and how they work.
You can view this Annex here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ise/22-annex-iii-information-about-diversity-electronic-cigarette-products.
Attention! Since its inception, ECITA has done an incredible job of raising positive public awareness for electronic cigarettes in the UK. E-cigs are definitely safer than analog cigarettes – but a lot of people still have doubts about them. Even worse, some people seem to think that they are just as dangerous and harmful as real tobacco products – which is definitely not true.
Making sure that E-cig companies follow ethical guidelines is a big step in a positive direction, as a huge part of the future success of the vaping industry relies on the public’s perception of it. Raising standards and enforcing regulations for ethical business practices could do a great deal to help ease the public’s discomfort where E-cigs are concerned – and ECITA is definitely at the forefront of this movement.