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  • Prison Time for Public Vaping in Malaysia

    $2,300 Fine or Prison Time

    At least two Malaysian states have started implementing harsh penalties on smoking and vaping in public.

    In Selangor, those caught smoking or vaping in a tobacco controlled zone could face a fine of RM10,000 (USD2,300) or up to two years in prison. These public spaces include parks, shopping complexes, air-conditioned buildings, government property, hospitals and gas stations. The only exceptions are open car parks.

    $2300 fine with image of money

    The city of Petaling Jaya has 13 parks that have been classified as no-smoking zones: Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya, Taman Jaya, Taman Aman, Taman Rimba Riang, Taman PJS 10, Taman Tasik Komuniti Kelana Jaya, Centre Spine in Bandar Sri Damansara, Urban Park 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Damansara Damai, Bukit Gasing, and Taman Tasik Ara Damansara.

    According to The Straits Times, the new directive is in line with the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations that were amended in 2017. The Malaysian government also has set a goal of becoming a smoke-free nation by 2045.

    Selangor Health director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan said that enforcement will be carried out in stages starting June 1, 2017.

    Selangor is the most populous state in Malaysia. This Southeast Asian country has a large number of smokers, beginner vapors as well as daily vapers despite smoking and vaping being declared as "haram" or forbidden by Islam.

    In Perak, those who are caught lighting up in public parks could face a fine of RM5,000 (USD1,170).

    Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said spot checks would be conducted from time to time at all 50 public and state parks.

    "The three-month awareness program held prior to the ban received positive feedback from the public, and our health authorities are ready to protect the public from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Through the program, we learned that the public is supportive of the ban and we hope to enforce it effectively with surprise checks. If everything goes smoothly, we may seek to extend [the ban] beyond public and state parks and existing no-smoking areas," Dr Mah said.

    According to health authorities, the main aim of the ban was not to punish smokers but to make them aware of the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke, and finally kick the habit.

    Just like in other developing countries, this move is seen as bending over backwards to please the World Health Organization. The WHO and its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control encourage member countries to ban or restrict access to low-risk nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes and snus.

  • What you need to know about the European TPD

    The Tobacco Products Directive is upon us.

    May 20, 2017 marks the full implementation of the TPD – a set of rules covering tobacco products and electronic cigarettes in the European Union.

    Back in 2014, a new TPD was proposed to replace the old 2001 regulation and include e-cigarettes in the same category as regular tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco. Each member state in the EU was required to transpose the TPD into their own law by May 20, 2016 and the United Kingdom did this through the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR). Manufacturers and retailers were given a one-year grace period to clear their existing stocks before the new rules are finally enforced.

    Is your product TPD-compliant?

    There are five main rules covering electronic cigarettes under the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

    The maximum size for e-liquid bottles is 10ml- Manufacturers are no longer allowed to sell e-liquids in the usual 30ml or 60ml bottles. This means higher costs for vapers who rely on bulk pricing for additional savings. Smaller vials also mean more harmful waste to the environment.

    The maximum size for tanks is 2ml- Many of the tanks on the market today are in the 3ml to 5ml range. These tanks are designed with such capacity because modern atomizers tend to guzzle e-liquid with every puff. The 2ml limit will be such an inconvenience for sub-ohm vapers who may need to refill more often than usual.

    The maximum amount of nicotine in e-liquid is 20mg/ml

    Manufacturers are no longer allowed to sell e-liquid in strong and extra strong varieties. The 20mg/ml ceiling can be difficult for smokers who are transitioning to vaping since it's the nicotine strength that they are accustomed to with traditional cigarettes. While experienced vapers should have no problem with 18mg, 12mg, 6mg or even zero nic e-liquids, smokers might find these mild variations unsatisfying and end up going back to smoking.

    Bottles must have 1cm nozzles and childproof caps- Apart from bottle size and content, the TPD has also laid out rules for actual container design. Each e-liquid bottle must have a nozzle that is at least 1cm long and does not drip more than 20 drops per minute without squeezing. Childproof caps are obviously common sense and manufacturers have been using them for years now.

    Products must have warning labels- Warning labels should be printed on the packaging of all tanks, replacement coils, and e-liquid bottles. For bottles, the label must read: "This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance." For tanks and coils, the label must include: "The following warning applies when the product is used with e-liquids containing nicotine." Warning labels should use the same black-and-white boldface font seen on cigarette boxes and cover at least 30 percent of the packaging.

    Is your company TPD-compliant?

    There are four main rules covering electronic cigarette manufacturers under the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

    The MHRA must be notified about new products six months ahead

    If you plan to sell a new product, you must notify the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency six months ahead. This could possibly slow down the speed of innovation that the vaping industry is known for.

    E-liquids must go through emission testing

    Manufacturers are now required to process all e-liquids in a certified lab and submit them for chemical analysis and toxicological tests. This could mean an additional £3,000 overhead cost per e-liquid.

    Advertising ban- Vape companies are no longer allowed to promote their products on TV, radio and print. There are also advertising restrictions on social media and other platforms online.

    MHRA fees - Manufacturers must pay a fee of £150 per product that they send to the MHRA for notification. If a product is substantially modified, notifying the agency costs £80. There is also an annual fee of £60.

    EU member states are given leeway to create their own version of the TPD and these country-specific laws could go further than the bare minimum requirement. In Finland, vendors are only allowed to sell tobacco-flavored e-liquid. Austria and Poland have implemented a total ban on online sales.

  • Do E-liquids Have Expiration Dates?

    Food, medicines, bottled water and even condoms have expiration dates (best used by dates). E-liquids are no exception.

    Consumables contain ingredients that could spoil or degrade over time. E-liquids are converted into inhalable vapor when you use electronic cigarettes, and like anything you put into your body, it is best to exercise caution when trying out your old stocks.

    According to the FDA, the agency does not require manufacturers to place expiration dates on food products except on infant formula. These labels are entirely at the discretion of the vendor. The FDA Center for Tobacco Products which regulates vaping products has not yet issued a directive on e-liquid expiration date labels.

    Expiration dates are simply guidelines. More often than not, what consumers need are common sense and good judgment. If milk smells and tastes bad even before the expiration date, then you should throw it out. The same applies to e-liquids.

    Lot Numbers on Eliquid Bottle

    What is the shelf life for e-liquids?

    Stored in optimal conditions, a bottle of e-liquid should last up to two years on the shelf. This is based on the oxidation process of key ingredients such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and nicotine. The best way to extend the life of your e-liquid is to keep the bottle in a cool, dark place where it is not exposed to the elements. Never store e-liquids where they can be exposed to direct sunlight, heat, humidity, or volatile temperatures.

    Of course not all e-liquids are created equal. As with any product, you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap juice, it probably contains low-quality ingredients that won't last the two-year period. The facility where the e-liquid is mixed can also play an important factor in product longevity.

    Natural and organic substances are also more likely to go bad quicker because they do not contain preservatives. E-liquids that are made with artificial flavorings and other know eliquid chemicals could last longer regardless of storage conditions.

    Good e-liquids should contain only the best ingredients such as USP-certified pure nicotine, USP-grade propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, and flavorings that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). They must also be handled at a mixing laboratory where proper sanitation and good manufacturing practices are observed.

    How do you know if your e-liquid is still good?

    Before loading your tank with e-liquid that's been sitting on the shelf for months, do a quick eye and nose check. Does it smell like the flavoring that is described on the label? How does it look? Color tends to change with nicotine oxidation so the liquid could appear darker over time. Common sense dictates that if the e-liquid looks and smells fine, then it must be safe for use.

    When e-liquids are kept in storage for a long period, ingredients tend to separate and leave residue at the bottom of the bottle. Just give it a quick shake to blend the mixture again. If the liquid does not return to its original consistency and taste, discard the bottle.

    Old liquids are not all that bad. In fact some vapers prefer to "age" their juices for several weeks or even months to allow the flavors to steep so they produce a richer, deeper and tastier hit. Before you discard any old e-liquid bottles, give it a quick drip on a fresh atomizer. You could be in for a pleasant surprise by vaping a well-aged juice compared to when it was fresh off the store.

  • US Navy Bans Vaping On All Fleets

    Beginning May 14, 2017, electronic cigarettes and other vapor products will no longer be allowed aboard any United States Navy ship, submarine, aircraft, boat, craft and heavy equipment.

    The ban will apply to anyone working on or visiting a Navy vessel including sailors, Marines, and Military Sealift Command civilians.

    In a press release, the Navy said the new policy "is in response to continued reports of explosions of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. Multiple sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement. In these cases, injuries resulted from battery explosions during ENDS use, charging, replacement, or inadvertent contact with a metal object while transporting.

    The move – which was announced in a joint message from Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet – comes after the Naval Safety Center released a report last August on the significant increase in the number of injuries to sailors from exploding lithium batteries.

    According to the NSC, there have been 31 such incidents that occurred on Navy ships since October 2015, with two accidents requiring firefighters to extinguish flames. Sailors who had their electronic cigarettes explode in their pockets suffered first- and second-degree burns. In cases where e-cigarettes blew up in their mouths, vapers had to be treated for facial and dental injuries.

    When the ban is enforced on May 14, all vaping devices must be completely removed from the fleet. Deployed personnel will be allowed to wait until their next visit to port.

  • Hefty fines for vaping in Dubai

    Attention travelers! If you are boarding a flight to Dubai or anywhere in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), leave your electronic cigarettes at home.

    The sale, possession and use of vaping products is illegal throughout the UAE, and if you get caught at the airport your vaping devices and e-liquids could be confiscated.

    UAE No Vaping

    According to a report by Gulf News, the Public Health and Safety Department (PHSD) recently inspected two tobacco shops and seized and destroyed their entire inventory. First offenders are typically given a warning but repeat offenders face huge penalties.

    PHSD director Redha Salman said they are looking at individual cases to check whether the offense was committed for the first time or if the vendor had been previously caught selling prohibited items.

    In Dubai, the largest of the seven emirates, businesses could pay as much as $136,000 in penalty if they are caught selling electronic cigarettes and vapor products a second time.

    Back in 2015, the UAE Health and Prevention Ministry considered relaxing the prohibition on vapor products but backtracked a year later and decided to keep the ban. There is speculation that the decision was in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) directive to member countries not to promote low-risk nicotine alternatives.

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