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MHRA Banning Squonking?

The MHRA has issued a clarification on its position on squonking devices, and it doesn’t sound good for British squonkers.

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has sent an email to vendors informing them that the sale of Squonking devices is not legal under the current registration scheme. It highlights an issue with squonk bottles over 2ml or increasing the atomiser capacity to over 2ml.

Sam at Drip Drop Vapour alerted us to the latest email from the MHRA. It says:

Hello from the MHRA E-cigarettes team
Welcome to our July 2018 newsletter for producers registered on the EU-CEG portal. We will be using the newsletter to keep you up to date on the notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers and current issues that have been brought to our attention.”

Supplying Non-Compliant Products and Components : Squonkers
These products do not meet the requirements of the regulations if supplied with a squonk bottle/ reservoir or tank by any other name with a capacity above 2ml. Any refill containers supplied with a squonker must comply with the associated regulations.”

Tanks above 2ml
Products found to contain non-essential elements that temporarily alter maximum tank size, such as plastic plugs and bungs will be subject to review if currently notified. Products found to feature a maximum tank capacity above 2ml will be removed from the published list.”

Packaging notified products with non-compliant accessories
The MHRA would like to remind submitters that notified compliant products cannot be packaged with non-compliant accessories for supply in the UK market.”

It would appear from the email that the MHRA is intent on stopping the sale of squonk mods that come with a squonk bottle. The sale of empty spare squonk bottles also appears to be banned under this clarification statement.  Is it possible that vendors could begin selling a bottle that would fit inside a squonk device prefilled with VG, thereby being compliant with the law?

The New Nicotine Alliance’s Sarah Jakes said: “Squonkers were always a grey area. I imagine MHRA have had them reported to them so they’ve had to make a decision, as opposed to the law changing. If I were a squonk manufacturer I’d be looking to sell without the bottle and perhaps they’ll get away with selling it separately.”

An area of confusion remains that some vendors and manufacturers do not believe that vape mods themselves need to be registered with the MHRA. Some differ and believe they do. A spokesperson for vendors Grey Haze told POTV: “We are aware of the regulations being talked about with Squonk tanks. If they are regulated to 2ml then sadly we would have to comply with this legislation.

With the recent limits to tank sizes to 2ml, we found that companies were able to provide us with TPD complaint products with ease, so I would imagine it will be the same with the squonk devices. As a reputable UK company we would have to comply with whatever MHRA standards are put in place.”

The Independent Vape Trade Association told us: "The IBVTA understand that the MHRA are seeking to provide clarification to the guidance that the TRPR limits the size of the squonker bottle supplied as part of a kit (ie, including an atomizer) to 2ml.

"The MHRA's opinion is that if the squonker bottle is removed and the manufacturer puts it on the UK market without the bottle, then it is likely to be within compliance and can be legally sold in the UK. The IBVTA is of the opinion that although this is an option for manufactures, it is something that we will raise when we meet with the MHRA to discuss this guidance note.

"Ultimately, the responsibility of interpreting the law resides with the courts. However, you can be assured that the IBVTA's position has, and will continue to be, to fight for vapers having access to as wide a choice of products as possible on the UK market."

A spokeperson for the MHRA stated: "The MHRA newsletter is produced for submitters of products requiring notification under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Mods that are supplied as an individual product and not part of an E-Cigarette kit do not require notification."

The MHRA promised to reply to other questions by the end of the week and will be updated to this article.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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