Non-compliant vaping products continue to be available on the European market, despite the strict regulation; this practice represents a kind of unfair competition and may also pose risk for the health and safety of consumers, exposing moreover producers and importers to fines.
To monitor the safety of the products sold for free consumption, the European Commission has set up the so-called RAPEX (Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products).
WHAT DOES RAPEX DO? It collects and disclose the reports about hazardous products received by each Member States within the European Community, providing:
_ commercial details of the product;
_ information about the nature of the risk;
_ the actions that the Member State took in response to the claim (ex. market ban and withdrawal from the market).
WHY? To inform both European consumers of the risk (through an online portal) and to alert the relevant authorities of the States in the system, which can then assess the presence of the dangerous product reported on its domestic market and take any action.
Recently, vaping products have made their appearance on the RAPEX system: after a first alert related to an e-liquid dating back to the end of May, in this summer alerts have been issued for three different e-liquids.
Ireland is particularly active in reporting dangerous products, 3 out of 4 reports come from that Country.
The claims concern liquids with nicotine, thus classified as toxic, that were lacking of correct information to the consumer to safely use the product (e.g. leaflet missing), mandatory under TPD-II. In every case, the immediate removal from the market was requested.
In these days of August, a further report was issued, arrived from Denmark, concerning a liquid with a declared amount of nicotine equal to 100 mg/ml, in bottles of 250 ml; in this case, the recall from end users was imposed.
Such high amount of nicotine can be extremely dangerous as a result of acute exposures, such as accidental spills or unwanted ingestions.
It’s important to recall that also other products containing nicotine that do not fall under the scope of TPD-II, that are becoming more and more popular, require an appropriate classification according to the CLP regulation, and a safety assessment in relation to the type and suggested use.
It is central to know that reports to assess the safety of the products circulating in each Member State can initiate from consumers and trade associations.
The subsequent process involves several actors, definite in the Member States where the report is made:
_ Operating bodies that, together with the competent Authorities, assess the actual dangerousness of the report products;
_ Relevant authorities, that once the actual danger has been determined, take the appropriate measures to eliminate the danger;
_ National Contact Points, centres that report the product to the European Commission through RAPEX, thus divulging the alert.