New standards add safety to unregulated e-cigarette market

New world standards for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and e-liquid published by AFNOR, the French standardisation and certification programme, add safety and accountability to the still unregulated market. 

E-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes, however current regulations making it illegal to sell in New Zealand mean users are putting themselves at risk using unregulated and untested products, often sourced from China. 

The AFNOR standards are the first published e-cigarette and e-juice standards in the world, and provide guidelines on how products should be produced for safe consumption.

While FDA regulated e-liquid ingredients from the US meet and exceed the new world standards, products sourced from China – where the majority of e-juice products in New Zealand come from – have no regulation or safety standards.    

“Right now the law allows people to purchase their e-cigarettes and juice online from anywhere in the world, which means you end up with a lot of sub-standard product coming into the country and potentially putting people in danger,” said QJ Satchell, Managing Director of NZVAPOR

“Until the law is amended to allow for proper regulation there are no safety standards for New Zealand consumers. For the first time in this market, the AFNOR guidelines give consumers the opportunity to choose products that have been thoroughly tested to exacting safety standards.” 

The AFNOR standards test products to prevent the risk of overheating of the electronic cigarette device, which can lead to burns and in some cases, devices exploding. For e-liquids, the standard defines a list of permitted and prohibited products to be used in their manufacture, along with storage requirements. 

NZVAPOR is the only company fully compliant with the AFNOR World Standard, New Zealand Smokefree Environments Act and the New Zealand Medicines Act. It is the only company legally manufacturing, distributing and retailing nicotine based e-liquids solely to the New Zealand market.

Recent research by Dr Murray Laugesen, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, showed e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking traditional tobacco, however the amount of nicotine in every puff can differ widely from what’s on the label. The AFNOR standards address this key issue. 

“Multiple studies show vapour from e-cigarettes has a fraction of the toxins and much less nicotine than traditional cigarettes, however until now there has been no safety standards or testing to verify claims from producers,” said Satchell. “The majority of nicotine based e-liquid products in New Zealand are sourced from China where there is no regulation or standardisation, and that’s where our concern for the consumer is.”

“We see e-cigarettes as a good thing for society, but the lack of regulation means there has historically been no standards in the market for providers to hold themselves up to and many local distributors are actually operating outside the current laws.”

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