UK Retailers Urged to Remove Illegal Lost Mary Vape Products
UK regulators are warning retailers to immediately remove certain Lost Mary disposable vaping products from their shelves, after identifying affected batches that are illegal. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) sent a letter on March 15, stating that additional batches of Lost Mary products have been found to be non-compliant. Last month, Booker and One Stop voluntarily withdrew their range of Lost Mary disposable pods due to a manufacturing quality issue, affecting batches of its BM600 device. However, recent correspondence revealed that grape and cola flavours from its QM600 product have also been found to be non-compliant.
Grape and Cola Flavours from Lost Mary’s QM600 Product Also Found Non-Compliant
While the overfilled products do not pose a significant risk to health in normal use, non-compliant products must not be made available for sale to consumers. Retailers are responsible for taking local decisions on whether or not to remove non-compliant products from their shelves, depending on local priorities, competing demands, and available resources. This development follows a leak of British American Tobacco (BAT) testing data, which claimed that nearly all major disposable vaping brands contain illegal levels of e-liquid. Elfbar 600 products purchased between September 6, 2021, and March 7, 2023, were tested and found to contain significantly more than the legal limit of 2ml of nicotine-containing e-liquid, ranging from 2.76ml to 3.88ml with an average overfill of 58%. The CTSI and MHRA have confirmed that compliant products are arriving in the country to replace the non-compliant Lost Mary and Elfbar products.
HALF OF INDEPENDENT RETAILERS PLAN TO REMOVE ELFBAR 600 LINES FROM SALE
An investigation by the Daily Mail found that Elfbar 600 lines contained at least 50% more e-liquid than the legal limit. As a result, nearly 50% of independent retailers surveyed plan to remove Elfbar lines from sale. In response to the issue, Elfbar held a meeting with regulators from the MHRA, during which they were instructed to withdraw Elfbar 600 stock from the market. Booker and Tesco have already delisted all Elfbar products, and other retailers have been advised to remove them as well. EPoS company Shopmate revealed that despite Elfbar accounting for 73.5% of all disposable vapes sold in independent stores, many retailers are determined to take action. A survey of 105 local shops found that 43% planned to temporarily delist Elfbar, and a further 5% plan to permanently delist the product. Some retailers expressed concern that more disposable vapes could be implicated in the tank-size scandal, as there are different interpretations of the laws surrounding the issue.
ELFBAR TAKES STEPS TO ADDRESS COMPLIANCE ISSUES
In an effort to address its compliance shortfalls, Elfbar has partnered with vaping compliance company Arcus to begin testing and certifying compliance of Elfbar batches from March onwards. The company has also committed to investigating all other vape products it exports to the UK, including the popular Lost Mary brand. The MHRA is aware of the issue and is investigating and testing more suppliers. The scandal highlights the importance of compliance with regulatory standards in the vaping industry, to ensure that products are safe and legal for consumers. Retailers must take responsibility for ensuring that the products they sell meet these standards, and take appropriate action when non-compliant products are identified.