Regulators and the compliance fallacy – buying 99% nicotine e-liquid from China

How easy will it be to sidestep European Union and U.S. FDA regulation? To find out, I bought some high strength […]

99% nicotine e-liquid bought from China

How easy will it be to sidestep European Union and U.S. FDA regulation? To find out, I bought some high strength e-liquid from the internet. The problem is that bad regulation doesn’t attract compliance, it attracts non-compliance.

The compliance fallacy

So I’d like to remind the frantic meddlers at the European Commission, EU member states, the FDA and over-zealous regulators everywhere of something I’ll call the compliance fallacy. To put it bluntly, they should never assume that people (consumers and suppliers) will all comply with whatever regulation they impose.

Instead, they should view their regulatory intervention as applying a perturbation to a complex system – in this case, the complex system is the supply chain for low-risk alternatives to smoking. After their regulatory perturbation, the supply chain will reconfigure – with many people adopting workarounds because the market as the regulators conceive it no longer provides what consumers want.  New suppliers outside the regulatory boundary can enter or grow by capitalising on the damage your regulation does to the existing supply chain. New business models may form – for example nicotine liquids (regulated) will be sold separately to flavoured liquids (unregulated). Consumers will push the boundaries of legality.

Unfortunately for regulators and everyone else, that new supply chain might be more dangerous, less accountable, lower quality and less taxable than the system before they blundered in.  Thier contribution will be the opposite of what they were trying to do – and what was supposed to be responsible will have been irresponsible. If you don’t believe the compliance fallacy is real, look no further than Canada or Australia where nicotine liquids are de facto banned but easily accessible through a distorted supply chain.

Buying nicotine from the internet

To test how easy this is, I decided to make a trial purchase of 99% strength nicotine. The highest strengths ever used in commercial e-liquids are 10% (100mg/ml), with a typical maximum of 4.8% (48mg/ml) on sale and the new incoming EU directive limiting this to 2% (20mg/ml). So 99% nicotine liquid is very strong, toxic and dangerous.  But if a consumer buys it and dilutes it, a little will go a long way (see below).  So that regulators might reflect on their own folly, here is an account of my transaction.

I searched on the internet and soon found a number of sites providing this product and chose one at random.  The website in question could have been located anywhere (though it is Chinese), it is attractively branded, has good English, accepts payments in $, £ or € through main credit cards and PayPal and offers a range of trusted shipping options like Fed-Ex and DHL.
The company’s website says it only sells pure nicotine to
  1. Businessmen
  2. Vendors
  3. Experts
To make sure I was one of these, I had to tick a box saying I am one of these three – so I did, and the transaction proceeded.  Six days after ordering it arrived.

It was labelled as vegetable glycerine, which it isn’t. But in a package like that, it could have been labelled as almost anything.


With a “Certification for Safe Transport of Chemical Goods” to accompany it. Reassuring!


How much nicotine is in this?

Short answer: about three months supply. (Maybe nine).

A typical vaper will consume about 100mg of nicotine per day (there is a large range and estimates vary, of course) so this tiny 10ml bottle containing about 10g of liquid or 10,000mg of nicotine would last about 100 days, diluted to whatever level the user preferred. Had I wished to, I could have bought a 250ml container. So that would be enough for about 7 person-years – and the basis for starting a cottage industry.

Update: Zvi Herzig points out “Farsalinos’s survey of 19,000 e-cigarette forum users found an average of 12 mg/ml nicotine at 3 ml/day (table 2 here) = 36mg/day, so your tiny bottle might supply 9 months.”

At what cost?

The costs for 99% nicotine from this supplier is very low.

  • 10ml – $10.99
  • 30ml – $24.99
  • 100ml – $59.99
  • 250ml – $109.00

Shipping for my 10ml bottle was an extra $20.99, but it doesn’t rise that much for larger containers. So three months nicotine for $32  or 30 cents a day. I could afford to lose a few packages at Customs and still be better off. It is very cheap.

How might it be used?

A DIY home liquid mixer could take this nicotine feedstock, add it to their preferred mix of PG (about $10/litre from Amazon) and VG ($10/litre), which are widely available and not covered by TPD or FDA’s Tobacco Control Act.

Popular diluents PG and VG

They can add whatever food flavours they like (at a few $ a time). Not covered by TPD or FDA’s Tobacco Control Act, but regulated as foods and widely available.

Popular flavours

Mix the legally purchased diluents and flavours with the cross-border purchase on nicotine and the consumer has an abundance of cheap flavoured e-liquid – the situation before EU or FDA came blundering in.

New business models?

Undoubtedly. Innovation is not just in products, but also in business models that provide consumers with what they are looking for. Expect a lot more of this.

With both TPD and FDA regulation, it is almost certain that new business models will emerge.   The regulated substance (nicotine) will be sold separately from the flavours and diluents – with mixing taking place post-sale, and possibly with containers designed for the purpose of mixing (e.g. interlocking caps). Nicotine liquids might be supplied by a few players able to meet the regulatory burdens or will be bought on the black or grey market as above.  The flavoured liquids may be sold legally by existing e-cig companies without nicotine or the burdens of FDA or TPD regulation.

Is this better?

No, it’s totally futile and wasteful.  It achieves no free trade or public health objectives, protects no consumers and does nothing for safety. It is a large and clumsy perturbation of the supply chain causing it to reconfigure in a way that benefits no-one but is better than the market would be if there was 100% compliance.   But if you allow regulators to ignore the compliance fallacy, it’s what you will get.

The hazards of such kitchen-based industrial processes are pretty obvious, but the economics are very compelling, especially if a regulator has closed down your options for strengths and flavours consumers like and made everything more expensive and boring. In fact, vaping enthusiasts could make quite a business out of it – become an illicit trader with a product you can make to order and sell to friends and neighbours.

Incompetent government (again)

Do the politicians, technocrats and advocates dreaming up elaborate regulations of e-liquids in North America or Europe ever consider what will happen to the actual supply chain? I mean the real-world supply chain rather than the imagined one they are specifying and hope everyone will comply with?

I enjoyed a recent collaboration with the New Nicotine Alliance to write to the UK government about ‘unintended consequences’ arising from poor policy. Here’s what we said about black markets:

Observation 4: the emergence of black markets will indicate policy failure

The emergence of significant black market trade in nicotine liquids, more DIY production, or changes in commercial or consumer behaviour to circumvent regulation is a sign of policy failure.  This is a sign that consumers do not regard the policies as in their interests or that they regard policies that are ostensibly for the greater good or protection of others to be excessive and unjustified.

Black markets can play a valuable role in helping people to avoid harms that arise from badly constructed policies and should not automatically be seen as a bad thing in themselves, but as a pragmatic consumer response to bad policy.   In this sense black markets function as a kind of warning signal of policy failure and can relay useful information to policy makers considering reforms.  Black markets come with a range of risks too – criminalisation of the supply chain, uncertain product quality and risks associated with changed consumer behaviours. But these should be understood as consequences of poor policies that create black markets, rather than black markets per se.  We would far rather have a well functioning legitimate market, than see users turning to black markets or risky practices to retain their preferred alternative to smoking.

Recommendation 4: UK government should monitor black market development and changing supply chain and consumer workarounds with a view to amending the underlying policy drivers of black market activity, if appropriate.  The purpose should not be to crackdown on users protecting their health and welfare, or to extend the ‘war on drugs’ philosophy to nicotine, but to learn from the market reactions to distortions created by badly designed regulation.

What will happen in practice?

I’m not a vaper and don’t know the technology that well – is what I’m saying above realistic? Will something else happen? Who will be deterred, who will benefit? Let me have any insights in comments into how the market might reconfigure once EU TPD and/or FDA are applied.

Update: Interesting…  White Cloud Vaping Co (U.S.) already commercialising DIY: Florida Company Gears Up to Supply the Underground “Vaping Prohibition”

Correction: the update above previously referred to White Cloud E-cigarettes. This is a completely different company and not involved in this approach. Apologies for the confusion.

News coverage: What the E-Cigarette Black Market Will Look Like if FDA Stomps Industry

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144 thoughts on “Regulators and the compliance fallacy – buying 99% nicotine e-liquid from China”

  1. « is what I’m saying above realistic? »
    It already happens: many people are stocking up. The upcoming regulations have already failed even before being enforced.

  2. Why take the risk of buying it from some random company in china when you should be able to purchase it directly from a reputable supplier in the UK? Nicotine is a reportable poison but it’s not a regulated poison so you don’t need a license to buy it.

        1. monoculture

          My interpretation of the regulations is that the 20mg/ml limit only applies to liquids containing nicotine that can be used to refill an electronic cigarette not to precursors.

          You can’t refill an electronic cigarette with pure nicotine. You have process it first.

          I imagine that when the bring in the duty next year it will only applied to mixed liquid in a ready to smoke state. Similar to how tobbaco duty is only payable once the leaf has been prepared

        2. Once the TPD kicks in proper; as a consumer you will not be able to buy “nicotine containing liquid” in a stronger strength than 20mg. That includes nicotine base.

        3. Steve Wintersgill

          Jim, not only will it be limited to 20mg/ml (2.0%) nicotine, but also limited to 10ml bottles.
          Regulators regulating for the sheer hell of it (and a, no doubt healthy, dose of ‘lobbyist funding’); without having the faintest clue about what they’re regulating.
          It’s technocrat, minus any technical knowledge or understanding.

      1. I buy 2.5L of nic base at a time (72mg/ml) currently, and I am currently increasing my stock gradually. I supply my own and my family’s liquids only to date and don’t charge them for it…..

      2. Hello, sir, Good day

        I am April, from Xi’an Taima Biological Engineering Co.,Ltd in China.
        We are one professional company which produce USP Grade pure nicotine, PG VG based mix nicotine liquid and concentrated flavors about 500 kinds used for E-cigarette E-liquid for many years and our products quality is recognized.

        If you want to know more or need samples for test, please contact me any time.
        Have a nice day and well take care!

        Skype: nicotine_top6
        E-mail: [email protected]
        Mobile/WhatsApp: +8613609154337

  3. Andrew Thompson

    “ what I’m saying above realistic?”

    It fits my expectation of what would happen after TPD idiocy started to kick in. (I’m not sure if meeting my expectations makes it realistic though.)

    I was earlier musing on a comment in an ASH doc. on TPDs effects about the flavours (without nic.) not requiring any oversight. That would result in a lot more people from UK to start buying concentrates (because a lot of retailers will be starting to offer concentrates + separate unflavored, diluted nicotine), and mixing their own.
    While that is pretty much the standard in Australia, I expect it would not be in UK (yet).

    But yes, I do find that to be a plausible scenario, and one that brings significant dangers to people that handle, possess, or mix the higher concentration nicotine solutions.

    If the TPD article 20 is the answer, it must have been a bloody stupid question..

    1. Clive Bates

      For readers as bemused as me:

      What Is a Squonk Mod?
      A squonk mod or bottomfeeder mod is a personal vaporizer which carries your e-liquid supply onboard and allows you to directly feed e-liquid into the atomizer. No more need to carry around e-liquid bottles and constantly drip into your RDA. A squonk mod is self-contained, easy to operate, and a convenient way to enjoy the pleasures of conventional dripping without any of the hassle.

      Clear now?

      1. Steve Wintersgill

        That’s about right.
        There are a few kits available which have ‘a space suitable for’ holding (predictably enough) a standard 10ml bottle.
        Who’d have guessed that an innovative, rapidly developing and diverse industry could/would outpace and outmanoeuvre a shambling, inefficient and unnecessary, multinational bureaucracy?

        1. Fiona Hodge

          Wouldn’t TPD consider the bottle to be the tank in such a design, and so outlaw it for being over 2ml?

      2. Clive ive bought the same product as you did the only problem is mine gave me hives all over my body. Have you haerd any other issues from that vendors products or am i the only person? Thanks for any feed back from you.

  4. Bob Pearson

    Nail on the head as usual Clive.

    Many established vapers will already have a stash of high strength nicotine in their freezer. I have a little under 2 litres of 100mg/ml nic (not bought in the UK). I vape 3mg/ml juice, so I have enough to make about 65 litres of juice. For personal consumption, that would last about 11 years, however, my friends & family will take a portion I’m sure.

    Making juice at home is very satisfying & rewarding, but you do need to know what you’re doing. A decimal point in the wrong place when dealing with strong nicotine base could cause a few headaches.

    The diy market is already growing steadily & the TPD will accelerate that growth. The internet has many online recipe sites with calculators, that do all the mixing maths for you e.g., my favourite.

    I would prefer to be certain that my nicotine supply was from a reputable source, but if & when I need some more, I’ll get it wherever I can.

  5. Pingback: Regulators and the compliance fallacy – b...

  6. Three things will happen with regard to nicotine supply:

    1. A much larger number of websites registered outside the EU will offer the nicotine that consumers have a basic human right to access in order to avoid smoking. They will specialise in more and more obscure ways of getting it to the customer.

    2. Local area vendors will arise, outside the system, supplying nicotine to consumers that they cannot otherwise obtain legitimately through shops or websites registered in the EU.

    3. Local vaping shops will reduce in number in time, as the EU regulations become more strictly enforced – perhaps in around two or three years. The costs of staying in business will rise significantly due to:
    a. Wholesaler costs increasing exponentially, due to pointless registration and documentation costs that have nothing to do with safety.
    b. Taxes will be applied to legitimately-sold vaping products in order to align them with tobacco products, in an attempt to strangle vaping and eliminate it as a threat to smoking. Black market products will be tax-free.
    c. Black market supply will take over all the most profitable product lines such as proper tanks, proper e-liquid strengths and e-liquid flavours.

    So, as you suggest, and due to a strengthening move designed to eliminate vaping as a threat to smoking, the black market will take over the bulk of supply. There will be some constructive attempts to sidestep legislation – such as selling 2ml tanks, but supplying tank extender kits that take them to 7ml or whatever – but the supplier cost base will rise massively after about two years, which together with a tax assault will drive a significant proportion of sales offshore / underground.

    Of course, this proportion of the market (which may eventually comprise 90% of it) will be unmeasurable; so perhaps its existence will be denied.

  7. “Is what I’m saying realistic?” Yes indeed, perhaps more for those new to vaping or not yet switched.
    Many vapers, like myself, have been refining DIY mixing for some time, in preparation for this nonsense….a freezer full of 75mg, PG nic base, stored correctly (and there are many threads out there from chemists who have already done the research) with minimal degradation over the years. I have enough for over 20 years, so they can stick their TPD where the sun don’t shine!

  8. Can’t think of any good reasons NOT to buy ALL vape related items from China. Why on earth would I want to line the pockets of middlemen in the Uk, pay vat etc?

    1. Perhaps you would like to know that the products you are using and consuming have been tested in the UK by accredited laboratories?

    1. Clive Bates

      Would love to know how it works with snus… guest post for anyone who can explain how it works?

      1. I purchase Swedish style snus for my elderly neighbour who couldn’t take to vaping from a website accessible from within the EU, pay nothing for shipping, and it’s delivered within 5 working days from outside the EU.

        1. Hello, sir, Good day

          I am April, from Xi’an Taima Biological Engineering Co.,Ltd in China.
          We are one professional company which produce USP Grade pure nicotine, PG VG based mix nicotine liquid and concentrated flavors about 500 kinds used for E-cigarette E-liquid for many years and our products quality is recognized.

          If you want to know more or need samples for test, please contact me any time.
          Have a nice day and well take care!

          Skype: nicotine_top6
          E-mail: [email protected]
          Mobile/WhatsApp: +8613609154337

      2. Steve Wintersgill

        Northerner dot com sell, EU wide, a variety of strengths and flavours in natty little tubs with a covered compartment to put used pouches in whilst you’re out and about.

  9. In my response to the FDA on 30 June 2014, I detailed exactly the consequences of their ill considered regulatory action:

    Should the proposed deeming be enacted without modification of the enabling legislation the consequences will throw those of us who use e-cigarettes into a vacuum of support for our efforts to remain tobacco free. I believe that within that vacuum will arise several probable and unintended consequences:

    First, those that are not yet committed to using e-cigarettes exclusively will return to smoking tobacco and any reduction in harm from reduced tobacco use will vanish.
    Second, a black market will likely emerge wherein equipment and liquid will be produced out of the public eye. The consequences of a shadow market would be diametrically opposed to the goal of the deeming regulations.
    Third, the products that will survive in the open marketplace will be produced by the same tobacco industry that the FSPTCA was designed to regulate out of existence. These products are the very ones which promote dual-use (the use of both tobacco products and electronic cigarettes). As the industries producing these products do not have a strong financial or social motivation to improve the harm reducing product they will most likely languish in the market becoming nothing more than a novelty.
    Other innovators who may be attempting to create new alternatives to the harmful tobacco use will abandon their efforts as the message will be clear, if it relates to smoking it is tobacco and it is unwelcome in the United States.

  10. Is it realistic? Of course it is you only have to look at our situation in Australia. I would recommend that anyone reading this and thinking hmmm that’s a good idea to go for a much safer strength of 10% or 100mg/ml. Safer for yourself and the delivery man should the bottle break.

    1. Clive Bates

      Yes, to be clear, this was more like an ethical hacking exercise to illustrate the potential dangers. I am definitely not advocating buying this stuff at this strength.

      1. Don’t be to afraid of pure Nicotine!

        For the pure base (100% Nicotine) penetration through skin is extremely slow (82 µg/cm² per hour). [1]

        Means: If you put pure Nicotine on 10 cm² of skin, you will absorb 0.8 mg Nicotine per hour (the same as smoking half a cigarette).

        But: Pure Nicotine must not be inhaled or ingested or come in direct contact with the eyes.


  11. Adam Williams

    Up until now I enjoyed fair competition Clive (I’m a vendor)But now a lot of that competition will be killed off, some in this industry might think that a good thing {for them} Now, in your scenario I have competition that I can’t compete with.
    Worse still, would-be vapers and and non internet savvy hi-nic vapers are in danger of a) not making the transition, or b) slipping back to analogues.
    These lawmakers might be bright, but like a lighthouse in the dessert, they’re no ruddy use.

    1. Clive Bates

      Adam. I really do sympathise.

      I think one thing that the clowns behind this forget is that it is supposed to be a ‘free movement of goods’ measure designed to strengthen the EU internal market. So what will it do: damage legitimate players in the EU internal market and create free movement from outside to inside.

      Consumers currently buying from small businesses in the North West will start to point east and buy from outside the EU.

      How clever is that?

  12. Chris Erickson

    And the big elephant in this room is that current smokers will be highly unlikely to want to find all the black market connections they will need for juice supplies and devices to begin vaping, given that all the regulations tell them vaping is BAD. Many current Vapers will be intimidated by mixology and give up, go back to smoking. RIP

    1. Clive Bates

      Chris – agree. That will be the biggest and worst effect.

      All the extra hassle and borderline legality is not something people want… especially if they aren’t already in the game. We might hope that the tobacco companies – the big winners from Article 20 – will come up with better products for competitive reasons.

  13. What it will do, is stop heavy smokers becoming vapers.

    If there is not enough nicotine in the product heavy smokers will not get the satisfaction they need to make the switch.

    1. You know sub ohms will work fine for heavy smokers to become vapers. People seem to forget vaping have come long from the ego style pen people used years ago. Try sub ohm 18mg At 50watts.I know no one will like it. As you don’t need high nicotine for sub ohms to get the same nicotine fix. To come off the smokes.

  14. vapingpoint

    New vapers just switching away from smoking, need high nicotine content in their pre-bought e-liquid. Most will not know about mixing their own. 2% is not sufficient for a heavy or even moderate smoker, so many will simply dump vaping and go back to smoking.

    Once you are a hobby vaper, and mix your own, or wind your own atties, what the EU do, is pretty unimportant. We know all the ways we can get around EU – one of them black-market. I am a pretty law abiding person, but I wouldn’t think twice before getting what I needed in any way possible.

    Nearly everything a hobby vapourist uses in hardware can be home manufactured by any handy person. You can even modify a torch for god’s sake!

    I personally, have a nicotine stockpile in my freezer, specially packed. I’m old, so if I snuff it before I’ve used it up, I’ve told my kids to use it as an asset and sell it on the future very active black-market. Should be worth a fortune!

    I couldn’t be parping around with 10ml bottles, so since 2013 I’ve been collecting 30ml bottles. I had a stroke at 36 and my left hand is disabled. I cannot hold a 10ml bottle in my left hand to open the lid. With baby proofing, I am often completely dis empowered. Thank god my husband is still alive – but there are thousands of disabled vapers who are going to struggle. These are the same people who have had children and grandchildren, and who have managed to stop them drinking the bleach in the bathroom, or the dishwashing liquid in the kitchen!

    I think most hobby vapourists consider the regulations that are coming out, to have been made by idiots. I am NOT going to be legislated in what I can do, by idiots. I have mixed for years and will continue to do so.

    However, I would be VERY unhappy to buy home mixed e liquid from someone else. I trust myself. But a new vaper might. So the EU regulation is very dangerous as it stands now.

    About the strength of nicotine in e-liquid – many vapers, once they become hobbyists, drop in strength – and with sub ohming, use only tiny amounts of nicotine.

    But in ACTUAL fact, the EU regulations are going to interfere with smokers changing to vaping, mostly.

    One only has to see how smokers buy black-market because of the insane taxes on tobacco, to see how people avoid injustices. Tobacco Control have created it. They have used every means, often manipulative and untruthful to get smokers out into the open air, and now, not even there in case they a seen by the children! They have no idea how many people practise the (shameful) pleasure of smoking because no one will ‘fess up.

    I assume, that Tobacco tax revenue must have fallen because of the black market – and vaping. The very smokers you are hounding to stop, are the ones who will just stick to smoking because vaping is more of a bother, than just whipping out a black-market fag and lighting it. Who wants to suck on a plastic stick with a tiny tank, on 2% nicotine when a cigarette is so much more satisfying?

    And the next plan hatching in Idiotville, will be a tax on vaping products….

    Nice post – thank you.

    1. Clive Bates

      Very good point about trust issues in buying from other mixers. Maybe people will acquire reputations – presumably something like this works in the illicit drugs supply chain.

  15. I currently have 2.5L of nicotine in my cupboard, pg vg, and flavouring. I’m hoping I can still get nicotine over the next few months. I vape 2.4mg. I have a few mech mods, but prefer all in one styles. I have 3 of those, 30 tanks. My other half specifically learned how to make coils for me. I’ve sourced laboratory equipment off eBay. I have centrifuge tubes, pasteur pipettes, beakers flasks and bottles. I even won a battery operated anachem pipette and tips. There’s a wealth of knowledge online on how to work it! I’ve done as much as I’m able to advocate. I’ve got people to switch to vaping, I’ll have to keep my old aunt in 2.4 too. Yes, it’s failed before it began.
    I was so proud I stopped smoking, at last. And god I never thought I’d enjoy not smoking as much as I do. Hate is a strong word, but I hate every single person who’s trying to rob us of a healthier alternative and rob others of the same opportunity. I also hate “I’ll be fine, I’ve got enough to last me”
    The world we live in makes me sad.

  16. There is obviously going to be a steep rise in DIY liquid production after the new rules kick in which will be a problem for the government when they are forced to bring in duty by the EU.

    If it becomes common place for people to make their own liquid its unlikely that they will accurately declare / pay the duty so the only way I can see them dealing with it is by moving nicotine into the regulated poisons category.

  17. I have 2 liters of 36mg/ml base right now.. This will buy me enough time to figure out how to import more, even it it’s 1000mg/ml(99%)

  18. G. Karl Snae

    Unhealthy or plain deadly EU laws call for healthy and unlawful decisions. What else to expect? I despise or reject EU that doesn’t respect or prioritizes peoples health foremost. Over and out.

  19. Adam Williams

    So, aside from European law.
    Is there an international option to appeal to?
    All I’ve seen from the European legislation is a ruling that will cost lives. The unintended (?) consequences of which manslaughter at best!

    1. Clive Bates

      One option might be for an external country WTO member with an ecig exporter to claim that it discriminates against e-cigs relative to cigarettes and bring a case to WTO.

      Vanishingly small chance in my view.

      1. Irish Lass

        Clive – is this a reference to a ruling in the Totally Wicked challenge? If so, what was the ruling???? If not, what is happening on the TW case??

  20. In Slovenia, in addition to the TPD regulation, they will enforce online sale ban and tax liquids for 0.18€ per ml. Needles to say, people will just order everything online and untaxed from other EU countries. I’m baffled by what are they actually trying to achieve. It seems that the only goal for that is the elimination of domestic vendors and preparing foundation for big tobacco market takeover. But can they enforce vendor from other countries to remove a specific country from their shipping destination? And how does the tax thing works in that case.. beacouse no customs no tax right?

    Current status of TPD implementation in EU countries:

  21. ive been mixing for almost 5 years now ,have 500ml of pure,6 litre of 200mg ,and around 6 litre of 75mg ,that will do me years ,im a high nic user,i vapw between 40-60mg juice ,always have always will ,the idiots will not stop me

    they will not stop anyone ,look at cocaine ,heroin ,cannabis,all illegal but can be bought in almost any street in the uk ,all they have done is drive it underground ,then you will see the dirty kitchen mixers who haven’t a clue ,selling sub standard crap to anyone ,

  22. I have 3 Liters of 200 mg base mix in my freezer. Been doing my own E liquids for five years. Have bought and paid for mixing equipment and over 50 different extracts.
    I vape about 6 ml of 3.0 mg nicotine each day. Was a very heavy smoker and I do believe nicotine helps me in some of my medical issues.
    I also tested out getting pure nicotine from China and got it easy: Didn’t use it as not sure of quality but wanted to know if I could do it.
    I will never let them tax me like they did when I was smoking. Will always find a way to get what I need.
    As for bans on where I can vape …I am pretty much a shut in. I don’t get out of my home much for various reasons.
    Just as a side note: I had very bad breathing issues and bronchitis spells every winter. Since I switched to vaping I have no breathing issues and my xrays of lungs are clear as good as a non smoker. My doctor is happy but keeps asking me when going to quit vaping. Like NEVER lol
    I live in Canada

    1. Great for you. But this is not about ‘me me’ and what I’ve been clever enough to do to navigate my future
      It’s about the rest of those who will now be denied rescue from a potentially fatal outcome and those who may slip back due to the restrictions on strengths. It’s about millions of peoples lives!!!!

      1. Clive Bates

        Two effects – both negative….

        1. Legal market becomes less appealing, more expensive, less accessible, less innovative: fewer switch, more relapse – this will be the dominant harm

        2. Black / grey markets more inconvenient, risky, potentially illegal etc – worth it for some, less appealing to most – see 1. above

  23. I learned about vaping from word of mouth when not much was being said about it in Canada other than it was “illegal” but I still went online and found the truth enough to try it. The entire industry was built this way and will continue to grow regardless of what they do. Since I started vaping have helped numerous friends to quit smoking. I will continue to help anyone that I know or talking/chatting to about vaping.
    I don’t like what is happening and it is going to take a lot of time and legal battles to get it all worked out. I will just continue in what I am doing while it is all going on. I post in facebook and google+ any information on what is going on. That is the best all of us can do that are not able to fight the big fight.

  24. These EU restrictions will indeed cause a huge rise in black market sales, at the same time as putting legitimate businesses, out of business. It will also mean that it becomes extremely inconvenient for smokers to switch to vaping, and lower the success rate of would be quitters.

    How do I know this, I live in Australia, and while these new restrictions are not as bad as the bans on nicotine we have in my country, they will lead to the same situation that vapers and smokers face here. For a smoker to switch to vaping here, they must be prepared to become a criminal, they must be prepared to buy any nicotine liquids from OS which comes with very high shipping costs, so most vapers buy nicotine base at 100mg/ml and dilute with flavours, pg/vg, that they can buy in Aus.

    For hardware, which in my state, Western Australia, is banned from sale, I must buy OS or interstate, (how long I’ll be able to support Australian vape businesses I don’t know, as the situation is up in the air). I buy directly from China mostly, because the range of choice is great, and so far the quality has been very good. I also learned how to make a basic mod, and have bought mech mods, because I just have no idea what the situation will be in the future.

    I advocate every chance I get, and tell smokers how they can access what they need to switch to vaping, I write to politicians, I speak to anyone who has any influence, to try and improve the situation for vapers in my country, and around the world. At the same time as I hope and work for the best, I prepare for the worst. I engage in civil disobedience, and encourage others to do the same, where they can, as I firmly believe that this is the only way that any change will take place. We must use our collective numbers against those that want to prevent people from switching to this orders of magnitude safer alternative to smoking. They can’t jail us all, we are many, they are few.

  25. John walker

    Not sure, but I think that putting pure nicotine ,( esspecialy a relatively large amount) through the standard postal service, could be potentially a serious legal issue – if it was to spill it could cause harm to some unsuspecting postie .( as well as its potential for creating shock horror headlines etc).

    As a few have said importing say a litre of 50mg strength , to dilute, is probably a better option all round.

    BTW there aparently is a medico in australia that , after a online interview ,will send a script to a compounding chemist, who then makes up the nicotine e liquid and posts it on to you. Haven’t tried it, yet.

    1. Clive Bates

      Totally agree


      I did it to make a point about regulation and unintended consequences and to illustrate that 3+ month nicotine comes in a tiny bottle. So I am claiming an ‘ethical hacking’ defence for this exercise.

  26. vapingpoint

    China has testing facilities and white room labs for mixing e liquid too. Immaculate. Chinese stuff is not necessarily “sub standard”. Nearly everything we use in equipment is made in China currently anyway.

    Just saying….

    1. John walker

      Yes many in the west do not understand that China basically demolished and rebuilt from scratch most of its factories and infrastructure in the last ten or so years; in the words of a mate who does a lot of work in China “all of their factories are full of robots and very up to date, they will soon leave us way behind if we do not pull our finger out”

    2. Clive Bates

      I agree with this completely – there is no reason why China can’t make very high spec products – and it already does. There’s often a ‘yellow peril’ racist subtext to commentary about Chine.

      Mind you, this company clearly happy to mislabel product and ship it with false certification.

      1. Gummy Bear

        In a normal market, mislabelling would be seen as suspicious. In the perturbed market (I like this word), it’s a necessity. Once regulation has forced the market into the shadows, “reputable” and “legitimate” are no longer the same as “law-abiding”.

        The company (I recognise its idiosyncracies, so I’m pretty sure which one it is) is actually quite popular among Aussie DIYers (though very few buy pure nicotine, from what I can infer from the forums). They would certainly lose a lot if somebody tested their stuff and it came out bad. So I trust them, but then what choice do I have? I would prefer to buy my base from a trusted company I know, with all stamps and certificates, but unfortunately this is not an option.

        I have said elsewhere that there is no real need for pure nicotine. However, there are some serious doomsday preppers around here who want to stock up supplies for decades. They might prefer to store 1 litre pure nic (20-30 years) over 10 litres of base. Again, this demand is entirely created by perverse regulation. Without an impending apocalypse there would be no need for doomsday prepping.

        [PS: I don’t mean “doomsday preppers” in a derogatory way. The threat is real, after all.]

  27. vapingpoint

    My comment was in reply to someone with no name? who said “Perhaps you would like to know that the products you are using and consuming have been tested in the UK by accredited laboratories?” I don’t know where that comment went…?

    About squonking – its the logical evolution of dripping. I couldn’t get into dripping – which means dripping e-liquid onto the atomiser because you had to parp about with bottles, atomisers ‘n stuff. Could never be bothered! But I COULD Squonk. The fresh liquid is squeezed from the bottle up through the atomisers whenever they need it. The bottle lies next to the battery and the whole device is really neat. To me, Squonking is sophisticated “dripping”.

  28. “Is what I’m saying above realistic?” Yes and No.

    Yes: Do we trust public health to advice our regulators correctly for once? And as a result do we trust our regulators to come up with some decent regulations about something even remotely related to tobacco? Looking at the stock of nicotine in private fridges and freezers, the answer is obvious.

    Yes: ‘Doomsday prepping’ for the announced ‘vapocalypse’ is already going on for years. To my knowledge every experienced vaper has a freezer or fridge full with ‘bunkerbase’ or even pure nic. There are even companies in the EU who sell high nic bases (15-20%) for long term storage that are sealed with argon instead of air so the nic would decay much slower. But in the recent months they were mostly out of stock since they couldn’t follow the high demand.

    Yes: I really have no clue on how many hectoliters of nicotine are already stored in peoples homes in the EU, but I bet you could fill with ease a couple of Olympic swimming pools with it. We learned from a lifetime experience as former smokers that whenever public health is involved you better are safe then sorry.

    No: “In this sense black markets function as a kind of warning signal of policy failure and can relay useful information to policy makers considering reforms” Dream on, that will never happen, not with something where public health is the only advisory body. When was the last time smokers were consulted regarding smoking regulations? So why would it be any different for vapers? According to public health we are ‘still blowing smoke’. Public health never was into health-care not towards smokers, not towards vapers, but always has been into repressive health-control.

    No: I have been experimenting with long term storage of nic for years already and I’m set to last for at least five years and plan to stock up for another 10 before the shit really hits the fan…. so next year when they will introduce the vaping tax (again as suggested by public health-control) they will try to close all the existing back doors, hammer down and repress the black market to protect their money (repression is the only thing they know how to do; public health-control will not take it as a lesson to be learned, that is unrealistic whichfull thinking for those sociopaths); so plenty of time to come up with new ways to escape their murderous grip…

    No: The warning signals of a massive emerging black/grey market are already present for a couple of years now, and May 20th it will be old news, so the fact public health-control didn’t learn one single thing is clearly a writing on the wall. The EU commission (advised by… guess WHO) is working on re-classifying nicotine so it will be no longer a product that can be freely sold and purchased in the EU. That as well clearly shows their willingness to take the emerging black market as a lesson from which they can learn. That is one of main reasons why it is better to stock up now while it still is possible and before public health-control tightens its grip.

    No: It’s the ‘newbees’ who will suffer the most; governments will kill their own citizens by the millions for money as advised by repressive public health-control. It’s no longer ‘quit or die’ but ‘be controlled by us or we will kill you ourselves’. However it has been already decades ago when the lunatics have taken over the asylum, and since everybody agreed to turn a blind eye on their madness (the cause justifies the means) they are now well established to run the show. So it is a bit too little too late in order to stop their killing spree. Public health-control has made such a mess of things during decades, they now have become a real public danger. Cynical: The control freaks have created a monster, and they were so busy trying to control everybody else that their monster is now completely out of control.

    Completely off-topic: did you ever consider what would happen if somebody found out that by diluting liquids with acetone the exhaled vapour becomes completely invisible and you can beat any vaping ban with ease… (For good measure: acetone does not do the trick but some other substance might and it is only a matter of time to figure it out). Another good reason to keep your mouths shut and turn a blind eye whenever a new ban is introduced. With every new ban public health-control looses control. Their control is so excessive, that being ignored completely with no control left whatsoever is what they are aiming for.

    Yesterday was a good day in the Netherlands to remember Arnhem: one bridge too far…

    1. Clive Bates

      Actually, I agree with all your ‘no’ points, so maybe we are not so far apart.

      On black markets, this is an attempt to get officials to look at black markets differently – not to blame them on criminals and venal users, but on bad policies that haven’t earned public trust.

      I recall the era of mass music pirating – the initial response was to try to shut down the various file sharing networks, but the problem was solved with a better business model – iTunes and then Spotify, that most people regarded as fair and reasonable, and were willing to pay for.

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  32. Gummy Bear

    As long as you can still buy overseas from reputable companies like the one you used (i.e. as long as customs look the other way), there is no danger of this scenario happening. The same company would have sold you the equivalent 100ml of 10% base for $9.99, shipping costs the same. There is no point in buying pure nicotine. It’s not only (somewhat) dangerous, but also impractical. You have to dilute it to a mixable base anyway. No real incentive to go for the dangerous stuff if the safe stuff is cheaper and more useful.
    If, however, the authorities decide to crack down on private imports, things could turn nasty. Pure nicotine becomes the preferred choice because it is so easy to smuggle. Your tiny bottle is a three-months supply. Compare that to the bulk of a three months supply of illicit tobacco (or cocaine) and it is clear that it is impossible to stop the supply chain — thousands of shampoo bottles with pure nicotine in toiletry bags. And who cares about the difference between pharmacy grade and pesticide grade?

    1. Clive Bates

      I think a crucial point – if enforcement goes full on against moving normal and safer liquids, then the incentive to move smaller bottles of v high strength liquid increases. Just makes it worse.

      1. Gummy Bear

        BTW: Funny, 70+ comments and no-one has screamed about your headline. There is no such thing as a “99% nicotine e-liquid”. No offence intended, of course.

        1. Clive Bates

          No offence taken, of course. What is the correct way to describe it?

          A 99% nicotine solution?

          Is it not an ‘e-liquid’ because it can’t be used in an e-cig…?

        2. Gummy Bear

          It’s actually pure nicotine (99% or 99.9% because you technically can’t make it 100%). As far as I understand the chemistry, it is not dissolved in anything if it is 100% (or almost 100%).

          Yes, it’s not e-liquid because it can’t be vaped. I expected the vapers here to be more pedantic about this, because the antis often (deliberately) confuse nicotine and e-liquid. They say “One sip of e-liquid can kill a child” and confuse this with one sip of pure nicotine (even that is dubious). If I say “One pint of beer can kill a child” and by “beer” I mean pure ethanol, then my mistake is obvious, because everybody knows that a pint of beer won’t kill a child. With e-liquid people don’t know, so they can easily be confused or deliberately misled.

    2. Jonathan Bagley

      I agree Gummy. High strength nicotine smuggling could be so profitable that we might end up with people swallowing small containers of it and dying horrendous deaths.

      1. Clive Bates

        I doubt that – it’s so ridiculously cheap, you could send 10 consignments from different suppliers and only one needs to get through, and it is still stunningly cheap. Put it in a mouthwash bottle less that 100ml and carry it through airline security. Whose going to try it?

  33. G. Karl Snae

    Yes todays sits is really depressing for the future of e-cigs (legally).
    Clive, you said “One option might be for an external country WTO member…” But would it need to be an e-cig exporter, not an importer?

    What about a vanishingly small chance that a EEA/EU state would welcome e-cigs and reject the EU TPD? I know probably not so realistic in light of todays CJEU & FDA, but really not so unrealistic acc to the situation, the parliament makes the decision on the EU TPD next autumn.

    But, what if there is such a vanishingly small chance in a vanishingly small country within EEA/EU would simply do that and would prioritize people’s health?!
    Well, maybe a future exporter – with plenty of clean energy, clean water, clean air but plenty of ASH we could now and then spread over Europe ;-)

    Well, you can always dream and….

    Thanks for your ever so inspiring writings

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  36. Doug Neaves

    There is absolutely no necessity to import nicotine from China. The grey market will be NRT magic nicotine, when in NRT it is as pure as the driven snow, but once the nicotine is extracted from the NRT, it transforms into the devils seed. Obviously, the NRT will require processing, but, as with everything in the modern world, the search engines are your friends.

    Imagine the scenario, select a helper of pensionable age, AKA, free prescription age, take them in your car to their GP or local stop smoking service, place a plastic bag over the exhaust pipe of your car, get the free prescription stooge to inhale deeply a few times, then off they go to their appointment. You then have free nicotine. Repeat the procedure or variations of it as often as required, you can even make it into a profitable business.

    The huge increase in people attending stop smoking services will be expected, as an “unforeseen” result of anti e-cig regulation. It is very strange that no one realised that this could happen, especially people in the pharmaceutical industry. Millions of people who do not smoke thanks to e-cigs, will get frantic when their life line is severed.

    The TPD and FDA deeming regulations will most probably bankrupt healthcare systems. Some self-proclaimed experts will be as welcome as a turd in a swimming pool. Without doubt governments will fall due to perceived and actual incompetence.

  37. It’s true the nearly all Australian vapers have been DIY mixers from the beginning to get around a government policy which holds that it’s safer for us to mix in our kitchens rather than buy complete from a reputable local vendor. This works for some, but sadly my brother, for example, who has a mental disability will never be able to grasp this workaround. He doesn’t even have a debit card. And smoking is cripplingly expensive for someone on a disability pension. So once again, the resourceful get by, and the rest get screwed by uncaring and idle bureaucrats. This is the true tragedy of Tobacco Health & Public Control.

    1. What you are saying is very true James, my elderly neighbour, who switched to vaping after 57 years of smoking, is not computer literate, and with severe arthritis is unable to mix her own liquids. She has no idea how to order online or use a paypal account or debit card to purchase vape gear. I do all this for her because for the first time in her adult life she does not have to use any asthma medication, she is healthy enough now to return to lawn bowls, and go out with her friends on walks, and has even taken to swimming for the first time in years.

      She is a pensioner with very little money, so she has also felt the great benefit of having money to spend on decent food, and even gifts for her grandchildren. I have witnessed such a change in her, for the better, that it makes me feel nothing but a deep anger and hatred for those in the tobacco control industry that are doing their very best to kill this wonderful woman.

      If this makes me a criminal, then so be it, let them prosecute me, because the story I tell to the media and anyone else that will listen, will not paint them in a good light, it will show people who are the real victims of their greed and abuse of power.

      Some may think me melodramatic, but this is the reality I live in, I do not want to see my neighbour go back to smoking, but if she cannot vape, she will, because she has tried everything else to stop smoking and failed, vaping is the only thing that has worked for her. I don’t want to see other smokers unable to access this vastly safer alternative, but this is what will happen, and has already been happening in Australia.

    2. Clive Bates

      James – I am so sorry about to hear about your brother and I hope that at some point the illegal market in Australia becomes sophisticated enough to reach him.

      Jude – I am so glad you are helping your neighbour. The law is an ass made by idiots and all the ethics are unambiguously with you.

      Equally. I hope Simon Chapman and Mike Daube rot in hell for what they’ve done here.

      1. I don’t believe in hell Clive, and as a narcissist, Chapman will have no thought at all for the people he is harming, he simply doesn’t care. He cannot see beyond his own selfish desires and his over inflated view of himself and his “legacy”. He believes he is a hero, and surrounds himself with sycophants that tell him just that.

        Chapman’s problem is he surrounds himself with people just like him, and stupidly believes they can be trusted, my hope is that they do what comes naturally to narcissists and liars, and treat him just as he has treated normal people. There is no honour or loyalty among narcissists and liars for hire.

        I’m hoping all the liars in the tobacco control industry, get what they really deserve.

        On a side note, I have thought about doing exactly what you did, and order pure nic from China, as I have a background in Chemistry and have worked with dangerous substances for many years, so know how to deal with it safely. However, its a lack of storage that holds me back, as I would not keep the 99% in the house, so would need to dilute it into much safer 10% solutions. I am stocking up on the weaker solutions though, and purchase more with any spare cash. This is not an ideal situation, but one that Aussie vapers have had to put up with for a long time now, (nearly 3 years for me). Helping other vapers is also something many of use do, as we know that it is difficult for many, such as my neighbour, and James’s brother. I hope I live long enough to see this change.

        One thing that comforts me, is that all the worst of the ANTZ liars, are old, most are overweight, and not healthy, so as they move towards their own inevitable end,(hopefully sooner rather than later), perhaps some younger, more compassionate and honest people will drive this change.

  38. Good article Clive,

    However, the proposed FDA regs also regulate 0mg e-liquid. This is due to the FDA finding trace amounts of nicotine in select 0mg liquids they tested.

    Unfortunately I think we’ll see many juice companies change into candy flavoring companies. Any liquid flavoring solution sold under the guise of vaping needs to have filed a PMTA within 90 days of publication of the deeming rule. You can argue that pure flavor concentrate is unvapable and for confectionery use in the concentrations sold by these new vendors.

    IANAL (I am not a lawyer), but this seems to be the easiest way around things. Either way this will greatly shrink the vaping community both in number of vendors and number of users.


    1. Clive Bates

      I think in the three years to comply, the civil disobedience will completely overpower the FDA.

      It hasn’t even been able to deal with 3500 application in 2011 for SE.

      I think the FDA would break with perhaps 10-100,000 applications.

      1. The fee for creating and filing a PMTA is what is cost prohibitive. Very few companies can afford to both compile a comprehensive PMTA (seriously look at the requirements, it’s insane to get it done in 90 days you need teams of people!) and submission of the application.

        How can we claim SE when recipes are trade secrets? Any formulation, even 100% made of approved constituent parts, needs to have a PMTA filed. Claiming SE is just a stop gap measure until they all get struck down.

        The cost of claiming SE is still extremely high and thus prohibitive for most of these small companies. It’s not simply printing off a form and filling it out. This is something that only the tobacco companies, or moreso their lawyers, have done. This kind of specialist knowledge generally costs a lot of money to take advantage of.

      2. The issue happens to be the time frame can be as little as 90 (89 at time of writing) days to enforce compliance. This will stand with officers of the law unless there is a judge granting injunctions to the FDA ruling. (good luck) Of course there will be other bills and back and forth between both parties. But this legislation will stick until it’s over turned or changed (which could be years) unfortunatley


        I recently ordered a liter of vape liquid labelled as vegetable glycerin for soap making by the exporter. It contains 24mg/ml of nicotine as well as flavorings, glycol, and glycerin.

        I got sent a Toxic Substance Control Act Certification (TCSA) from Fed ex and they want this before they will release my shipment. How does the US law interpret this product?

        Tobacco and tobacco products are exempt but nicotine is considered a toxic chemical. I tried looking at the EPA website but I am not a chemist and nothing is clear.

        Am I in violation of the law if I certify that all chemicals in this shipment are not subject to TCSA?

        Or should I indicate that the shipment complies with TCSA?

        Should I call the TSCA assistance office and ask?

        This company does ship tightly capped product in Vacuum sealed plastic bags when I have ordered from them in the past.

        I dont want to get in trouble from US Customs so please tell me how to proceed with the following lawfully please. Thank you in advance for the clarification.

        The letter reads:

        We are working to clear you shipment through US Customs, under the above airway bill, the below information is needed:

        1. TSCA( Toxic Substance Control Act) – Please include a phone number and email address on the form, I have attached for you. FILLED OUT BY THE IMPORTER.

        Attached, please find documents regarding the above-referenced tracking number. Before we can submit this shipment to Customs we will need a completed Toxic Substance Control Act form.

        TSCA Instructions:

        § Please use dark colored ink or typing as light colored inks or pens will not properly scan when attaching to your shipping documents.

        § For assistance in completing this form, please visit the website indicated below. You will find instructions indicating which certification to mark on the bottom right hand side of Page 4 of the website.

        *** Page 4 of
        indicates the Certification Action required ***

  39. Donald Trump

    This should be relabeled the American Vaping DIY regulation (with proceeds to China)

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  41. I do not think that a hundred thousand consumers not complying with the regulations will be seen as much of a problem. Who is going to enforce the regulations. Both trading standards and customs have been subject to budget cuts and both have higher priorities. The requirements to make eliquid are easily obtainable ingrediants, a syring for measuring and an old jam jar.
    The only thing that the regualtion seem to aim to acheive was to protect markets and give a cartel to businesses geared to that way of operating. (done claiming to protect the vey people its most likely to harm) They aimed to get the millions of users paying a premium price and using products supplied by a limited number of companies. A few scare stories about illegal e-liquid and the crimenals who produce it will be far more cost effective than actualy chasing people.

  42. In France, we have since about one year tested many suppliers for what we call “strong” (100 mg/ml) and “Double strong” (200 mg/ml)… (we have decidd that “pure” (995 mg/ml) was not a good deal (too dangerous and not really attractive in price in our opinion).

    A view of the individual stock of nicotine per person in our “vape-survivalist” community ;)

  43. Fiona Hodge

    You’very exactly described the situation as I see it once regulations kick in. I make my own liquid at a cost of about 30p-50p per 10ml, depending on flavours used. I will not accept at least a 2000% rise in juice costs (and that’s based on current prices, not the increases forced onto the industry by compliance costs).
    250ml of 5.4% and 500ml of 7.2% have lasted me over 3 years. I already have 500ml of 7.2% in the freezer and have just bought another 1 litre.
    By my reckoning, this supply should last me around 7 years (or more if I continue to reduce my nic strength as I suspect nature will dictate).
    After that, I will resort to the black market if we haven’t beaten the TPD through an attack of common sense in the EU (LOL) or through legal challenges when someone manages to attribute their ill health with legislation.
    I can’t afford to pay 2000% more for my eliquid – it would be cheaper for me to go to the market & buy smuggled cigarettes.

  44. With “very optimised DIY”, our references are about 0,10 euro for 10 ml in 18 mg/ml for base. Then with aroma we add 0,2 ou 0,3 euro for 10 ml.

    For that :

    – PG/VG zero mg base : about 5 euro one liter
    – 200 mg/ml base : about 50 euro one liter (then 250.000 mg of nicotine)


  45. TDPbreaker
    is french forum who helps vapers to overcome TPD regulation !
    There are french, belgium and swiss people.
    In France for the moment, the legal issue is not possible since the implementation is not fully fullfilled but we have anticipate the threat !
    For my part, i’ve adviced and convinced people not to take pure nicotine but to take 100mg/ml, 200mg/ml or 250mg/ml, that concentration are strong enough to be “sheltered” from the TDP threat.

  46. john Walker

    Portugal has , I think, decrimalised personal use of any drug. Do you know what the situation there is for eliquid?

    Portugal could do with a ‘ growth industry’ no?

    1. Bob Pearson

      E Liquid freely available at the moment. Suspect that most shops will sell 0 nicotine liquid. with an option to add some 20mg/ml nic base. One shop is already talking of having a manufacturer in Poland supplying him with nicotine “capsules” to add to juices. I am in the Algarve.

  47. Jonathan Bagley

    Hi Clive,

    i) I buy 72mg concentrate (7.2%), tested in a Swiss lab, from a small UK vendor. He claims that he will be free to sell it after May. He even states it on his website. His reasoning appears to be that it is not eliquid (needs diluting). It a chemical whose retail sale has always been permitted in the UK (not exceeding 75mg strength). I’m a little sceptical and have stockpiled around 5 years supply.

    ii) UK vapers would generally resort to the imo crazy practice of buying 99% nicotine if the TPD stopped the sale of 72mg and UK Customs managed then to block its direct import. A year’s supply of 72mg is about 400ml, so less than a beer bottle, but still might attract attention.

    iii) Many vapers, myself included, resent the added cost imposed by the TPD. My home mixed liquid currently costs less than £1 a week. With all the new restrictions, including “leakage” regs, it could increase to £50, yes FIFTY, a week; in which case I would try my hand at importing direct from China. It would remind me of the old days. Going to the corner shop, wondering whether there would be any Belgian Golden Virginia.

    1. Hello, sir, Good day

      I am April, from Xi’an Taima Biological Engineering Co.,Ltd in China.
      We are one professional company which produce USP Grade pure nicotine, PG VG based mix nicotine liquid and concentrated flavors about 500 kinds used for E-cigarette E-liquid for many years and our products quality is recognized.

      If you want to know more or need samples for test, please contact me any time.
      Have a nice day and well take care!

      Skype: nicotine_top6
      E-mail: [email protected]
      Mobile/WhatsApp: +8613609154337

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  52. I am from the U.S. As a result of the FDA rulings, what I would like e-liquid companies to consider here would be to sell JUST the flavorings to their e-liquid lines in little vials – all the flavorings, in their correct measurements, minus the PG, Vg, and nicotine…..Just the vial of mixed flavorings and sell those. No “trade secrets” to be divulged….just the correct amounts of flavorings. We then could add the entire contents of their flavoring only vials to say 80% vg, 20% PG and our preferred nicotine amounts and still be able to enjoy our favorite vendors and their specific flavors that we are currently using. Consumers would procure their own PG,VG and nicotine, mix those up, and dump the vial of flavorings that the companies pre-prepare, and shake and vape. So rather then them selling the complete e-liquids, they could sell JUST their flavoring concoctions, exactly as they would currently be putting it into the bases…..but we would actually be supplying our own bases. Their “recipes” can still be sold-but only sell the flavorings that we would add to the PG,VG and nicotine. So essentially, the companies could switch from mixing e-liquids for sale – to simply mixing flavors at their correct percentages into a solution that we could add to the bases and the end result would be that we are still getting the e-liquids in the exact flavors that we have come to enjoy.

      1. I recently ordered a liter of vape liquid labelled as vegetable glycerin for soap making by the exporter. It contains 24mg/ml of nicotine as well as flavorings, glycol, and glycerin.

        I got sent a Toxic Substance Control Act Certification (TCSA) from Fed ex and they want this before they will release my shipment. How does the US law interpret this product?

        Tobacco and tobacco products are exempt but nicotine is considered a toxic chemical. I tried looking at the EPA website but I am not a chemist and nothing is clear.

        Am I in violation of the law if I certify that all chemicals in this shipment are not subject to TCSA?

        Or should I indicate that the shipment complies with TCSA?

        Should I call the TSCA assistance office and ask?

        This company does ship tightly capped product in Vacuum sealed plastic bags when I have ordered from them in the past.

        I dont want to get in trouble from US Customs so please tell me how to proceed with the following lawfully please. Thank you in advance for the clarification.

        The letter reads:

        We are working to clear you shipment through US Customs, under the above airway bill, the below information is needed:

        1. TSCA( Toxic Substance Control Act) – Please include a phone number and email address on the form, I have attached for you. FILLED OUT BY THE IMPORTER.

        Attached, please find documents regarding the above-referenced tracking number. Before we can submit this shipment to Customs we will need a completed Toxic Substance Control Act form.

        TSCA Instructions:

        § Please use dark colored ink or typing as light colored inks or pens will not properly scan when attaching to your shipping documents.

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  53. Also -It is my belief (maybe it is just paranoia) but I truly believe that this whole thing has been executed to produce 1 single outcome…..The absolute death of vaping in it’s entirety. The FDA’s PMTA’s state that a company has to prove that their product is “Less harmful than a tobacco cigarette” Given that the majority of companies who will be able to afford meeting the extremely high cost of getting these tested and approved, will be Big Tobacco – it means a couple of things only: 1> Big tobacco will be able to add all the carcinogens they wish into their e-liquids (maybe just in smaller amounts) so that they are, in fact, “less harmful” than a tobacco cigarette. Or, being that they will be the ones in charge of producing e-cigarettes…..They plan on simply declining to do so. If the majority of the companies who CAN afford to produce e-liquid and e-cigs opt not to do so……they may believe that vaping in any form or fashion will simply cease to exist. OR they can add all the junk (Carcinogens) that keeps people addicted, while at the same time causes cancer (in concentrations of simply “lesser amounts”) Regardless, I will NEVER purchase ANYTHING vape related that any Big Tobacco company puts on the market. They have tried to kill us all for many decades – I do not trust that their intentions with e-juice or e-cigs will be ANY different. But I firmly believe that when/if they gain control (Simply because they have the money to do so) of the vaping industry, in order to protect their tobacco sales, that they will simply decline to produce anything for us vapors, who have been lucky enough to have severed our ties to them. They have gotten more than enough money from me over the 20+ years that I had smoked, and they will not see another dime of my money.

  54. 44 years a smoker, tried everything on this earth to stop many many many times. Nothing worked for more than a few days or at best a couple of weeks. As soon as a stressful situation arrived Boom back to the stinkies. It was the trick and DIY side of vaping that attracted me, I knew there was much deep detailed things to learn about DIY and that I would need to focus on these things. 3 months and 2 weeks ago I picked up a decent vaping set and have not touched a stinkie since. WHY have I told you all this?Well the hobbiest ( which actually is a small % of ppl who vape) will be ok, We have either the knowledge or connections to carry on with little effect from the rules.What about the smoker? These regs have blatantly condemned the smokers to death. Every time I convert a smoker it also makes ME feel better about myself, I can not do that any more. I am very very very sad and angry at the same time. They can put as much fancy dress on this as they want. Bottom line MONEY!!! Push the common man too far and they will react with organised power. I can only see this getting worse and maybe even out of hand. I truly hope vapours unit as ONE.

  55. About time too, its so funny, we have thousands of cowboys selling us all sorts of junk, 3 or more times the price of the rest of the world, give NO warranty for anything they sell either!

    You be lucky to get 30 days warranty on a box mod, nothing on batteries


    Go along to buy it very cheap, get 6 months warranty on EVERYTHING, no argument warranty !


    Oh, and ill be voting OUT soon !

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  57. You can thank Reynolds for this. They pressured and pressured the FDA to regulate e liquid manufacture and distribution the way they did to make the industry prohibitively expensive to get into. Now they can corner the market with the attrition game. This is just the FDA’s way of sucking off big tobacco while they toss the DIY’er to the wolves.

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  60. Guys, WAY too much to read in one sitting! I read to the end of May 4th, and will finish later!

    I started vaping 3 weeks ago and haven’t once been tempted by a cigarette since!

    I can’t believe the bulls*%t they’re pushing! Just highlights how the real drug dealers AREN’T on our street corners, but in fact influencing the people running our lives (i’m sure the crack house on the estate down the road didn’t have a say in this multibillion pound scam)!

    From what I have gathered so far, it’s big T who will benefit most from all this, at the cost of pioneers and consumers…

    While this isn’t fair in the slightest, I believe we’re fighting the wrong battle. I’m about to go off on a tangent but bare with me here because I have a point, I think we should be campaigning to force the Government to place it’s citizens first and be held accountable for their actions and law making decisions. All of them.

    Do you think Blair would’ve taken us to war if he knew he would go to jail for doing so?

    Do you think the the EU would pass this TPD revision if they knew that they were opening themselves up to huge financial liabilities that big T kickbacks couldn’t possibly cover?

    Campaigning for governments to be held accountable for their decisions and choices would mean, before they take ILLEGAL kickbacks they would have to consider if they have the money to cover legal repercussions or do the jail time once they’re called on it.

    While there’s plenty of loopholes to navigate the TPD, it shouldn’t be necessary. If these measures are to truly regulate and make safe the use of nicotine e liquid they should extend that safety policy to protect consumers who are being placed in danger from their regulations, once the implementation of said regulations show that the regulations have been poorly thought out (or maliciously crafted depending on your viewpoint), the affected should be able to seek compensation from the government.

    Check out my next points and you’ll see where I’m going with this:

    Under the new regulations I will only be able to purchase a 2ml tank, as a sub ohmer, I can drain a 5 ml tank in under an hour of chain vaping! :D but with average vaping, I’ll refill once, maybe twice. So under the new rules, I would need to open a nicotine e liquid container 8 times (15ml), increasing the prospect of minors (if I had kids) getting hold of it – We’re taking about real world where a bottle may get put down momentarily to say, turn off a pan of water boiling over, or may be left on the table due to constant refilling (much more likely) – In that situation, should I not be able to sue the government for creating / enforcing the regulations that created this danger.

    Say a former heavy smoker requires a stronger strength e liquid to successfully stay off cigarettes, their choice would be to purchase unregulated nicotine solutions to mix with their e liquids or go back to smoking, in this case, and considering these regulations are designed to make e liquids safer, should he not be able to get his nicotine solutions tested for free for any contaminants or sue the government for impeding him from seeking a safer alternative and claim money for private healthcare from all future smoking related issues caused by returning to smoking?

    Now my next point is on tanks, can shops still sell larger tanks for use with 0% e liquids? I ask this as, in my opinion preventing this would open up a whole different can of worms… Think about this for one second.
    “Oh no, you can’t sell that tank because it could be used for nicotine”

    Now to create a fair and level playing field, you would have to ban the sale of lightbulbs, small bottles of spirits, coke cans, bic biros and plastic bottles, tin foil, cigarettes, rolling tobacco, rizla, knives and any form of heating device e.g. a stove top, etc. That list could go on forever, but the one thing they all have in common is, all of the above listed items can be used to consume illegal drugs, that’s not to mention a ban on home baked goods and for that matter home cooking period.

    Ok, a bit ridiculous but still, my point stands, if the government was liable for their decisions, my above points would’ve been considered before, for example limiting the size of tanks.

    I’m not talking about chasing the government for every little thing in our lives, just for making the wrong (financially rewarding for them) decision when they butt their noses in and change things for the worst for us, just to suite the 1 percenters…

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  62. My dad smoked for about 25 years and stopped just because of vaping…he just started decreasing nicotine progression and that’s it :)

  63. people going on about all these loopholes fail to see they are there by design.
    what better way to get a law passed that is so full of loopholes that noone cares, they say oh well it wont affect me ill still be able to get what i need etc and once the law is passed they will then continue to go sew up all these holes bit by bit to avoid opposition until vaping is illegal… watch
    it will be some excuse that somebody died due to the evil black market nicotine so now its an illicit drug with criminal consequences, the tpd is just the start

    1. This has now started happening within the US and Canada, with deaths claiming to be vape related full info is suppressed as it taken months to reveal that cause was black market THC cartridges contains Vit c isolate which thickened the THC concentrate to make it look purer, but rather than blame cannabis extracts which now are legal they blame vaping and flavours as they seek to ban and close loopholes

  64. Sure the loopholes are there by design; vapers spent already a decade on designing as much of those as possible. Sure they will try to close some of them, and sure they will succeed. But I seriously doubt they will be able to close all of them. The loopholes were designed because it was announced vaping was going to made illegal. Times have changed in the EU, vaping will be taxed instead, but the loopholes remain and can be used as well for tax-evasion as for escaping a blanket ban. And black market e-liquid is dangerous because if you spill it, and you can because black market bottles do not have a childproof cap, it burns holes in your skin and lips (source EU-commission) not because somebody died.

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  71. The tobacco grown in China that is then used to make nicotine lacks any regulations on what pesticides or fertilizers are allowed to be used on that tobacco which on turn all the toxic pesticides and fertilizers end up in the final nicotine product.

    1. Only on the Internet can I read text written by a person complaining about trace amounts of pesticides in his pesticide (nicotine).

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  74. Matt Driscoll

    Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall of red tape…..
    All the kings men came tumbling down too.
    History repeats.. The CRUX is the Kings own the black market because it uses the Kings money.
    Win Win big time.
    2 year vaper, now a diy’r, and prepper, $0.50 AU a week cost. 300 times cheaper than death sticks.
    I like my Nicotine and smoked up too 100g RYO a week from 12Y.O. To 50Y.O.
    All quit methods failed. Open system, FLAVORED Vape stopped me in a week.(had to finish my smokes :(
    0 to 3mg Nic for me since the beginning. It just burns the throat and spoils the flavors.
    I can’t really see much point in it (Nic) other than indoctrinated habit. I just love the flavor.
    And the hand to mouth, feeding action, after 40 years as a cash starved- so food starved, smoker.
    I average 1 smoker to vaper convert a month. Several gave up vaping too, soon after starting, and are staying off ciggys !
    We are all so happy and healthier. People power, just do what you can.
    I pray to God, every human being smoker has access to safe vaping.
    Come on World. Change your evil ways, it’s getting really wicked down here.
    Luv ya.
    P.S. It’s a $35,000 fine for Nicotine here without prescription in Western Australia. And only a couple of 100 for growing Mary Jane.
    So you may as well easily extract decarboxylated THC and use in lieu of NIC. More black market options.

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