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An industry Code of Conduct backed by major players from across the UK vape sector has been unveiled.

Overseen by the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), the code of conduct sets out agreed standards and behaviours to help voluntarily regulate the vape sector, including how products should be marketed and their names and flavours.

It is hoped the code will help address recent concerns around the increase in youth access and experimentation with vapes. It sets out how single use vape products should not disproportionally appeal to children and makes clear that those involved in the sale of vapes must ensure compliance with their recycling obligations and have a duty to encourage vape customers to recycle their product responsibly.

The Code of Conduct has been signed by manufacturers, producers, distributors and retailers of vape products. Those signing up to the code are responsible for over 50% of the single use vape products on the UK market. The IBVTA will be taking forward plans to achieve further sign ups in coming weeks.Chair of the IBVTA Marcus Saxton said: “I am delighted that the Code of Conduct will cover 50% of the single use vape products on the UK market, a figure that will increase over the coming weeks and months as more companies sign up. It shows that the vaping sector is willing and able to address recent concerns, including around those under 18 accessing vapes, and the need for increased recycling of used vape products.

“But the industry cannot operate in isolation. We look forward to working with Government on developing a responsive and proportionate regulatory regime. The Government also needs to take seriously and act on the growing issue of the illicit vape market, whose products will of course not adhere to the measures we are announcing today. However, we believe that the Code has a significant role to play in adding further protections and safeguards to consumers, those under 18 and the environment.”

The Code of Conduct:

  1. only supply products that comply with UK regulations and are notified to the MHRA, if such a notification is legally required
  2. refrain from supplying products under brands or product names aimed at capitalizing on well-known food, beverage, confectionary, cartoon or entertainment brands or products (for example, Skitle, Prime, Fantasi, Coka Cola, Jolly Ranger)
  3. refrain from supplying products whose flavour names resemble well-known food, beverage, confectionary, cartoon or entertainment brands or products (for example, gummy bear, Haribo, Orio, Red Bull)
  4. only supply products whose flavour names accurately reflect the profile of the flavour, and not abstract concepts that might disproportionately appeal to children, or which might not communicate the flavour profile to adult customers (for example, ‘dragon blood’, ‘unicorn shake’, ‘rainbow blast’)
  5. only supply products that do not feature prominent images of cartoon characters, or fictional characters from entertainment primarily aimed at youth on either the product or packaging
  6. only supply products that do not resemble toys, drinks containers, water bottles, or similar novelty shapes primarily aimed at youth
  7. introduce due diligence measures within our supply chains that aim to reduce supply of products to retailers who do not have experience in selling age-restricted products, or who do not have strict age verification protocols in place. These could include communicating regulatory requirements to our wholesale customers and supplying best practice guidance on how to carry out the due diligence requirements of The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015
  8. comply with obligations under waste and recycling regulations within our own businesses and communicate retailer obligations to our retail customers.