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Vape and vapour products make their debut in international standardization

by Sandrine Tranchard on
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Man smoking an electronic cigarette
Vape and vapour products represent a technical and economic novelty. The electronic cigarette devices and their consumables called e-liquids are recognized as a genuinely disruptive innovation, having reached mass markets in many countries in just a few years. The use of electronic cigarettes has rapidly become popular around the world, especially in North America and Europe.

The vaping industry is at the heart of a new economic sector that spans the manufacturing, production and retailing of both devices and e-liquids. A new field of technical activity dedicated to vape and vapour products aims to address the emerging standardization needs in that sector. To this end, a new ISO subcommittee, ISO/TC 126, Tobacco and tobacco products, SC 3, Vape and vapour products, has been created and will hold its first meeting in the week of 24 October 2016 in Osaka, Japan. 

The e-cigarette market’s wide range of devices and e-liquids, its significant market value, the arrival of many brand-new market players and stakeholders, and the public policies involved, will provide the basis for discussion at this opening session. The committee work programme will focus on the following points:

  • Safety and quality requirements for electronic cigarette devices and e-liquids
  • Test methods for devices and e-liquids
  • Determination of substances in e-liquids
  • Testing conditions, equipment, reference products, emissions, vaping machines and robots
  • User information and services provided by retailing

A number of countries have already issued standards on e-cigarettes and vape and vapour products. It all began in April 2015 when France published the first voluntary standards aiming to improve the safety of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids. The United Kingdom soon followed in its wake, helping to build European momentum in the summer of 2015, which materialized with the launch of a project involving more than 20 countries within the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). Today, the market for e-cigarettes reaches far beyond Europe’s frontiers. Fivape, the French Interprofessional Vaping Federation, estimates the number of vapers at 25 million worldwide.

For Rémi Parola, Chair of ISO/TC 126/SC 3, whose secretariat is held by AFNOR, the ISO member for France, “achieving a strong level of consensus within ISO validates an approach seeking to establish specific standards on vape and vapour products. Creating an ad hoc ISO technical committee should help recognize the potential of this fast-growing innovation, for the benefit of users throughout the world”.

To date, 17 countries, through their respective national standards bodies, have already indicated a wish to participate in standardization work.

At its first meeting, ISO/TC 126/SC 3 will bring together all relevant stakeholders (manufacturers, consumer representatives, health authorities, inspection bodies and testing laboratories) to lay the groundwork for the future discussions that will lead to consensus. The first International Standards are thus expected to be ready for publication in 2018.

In order to participate in ISO/TC 126/SC 3’s standards work, you may contact directly the secretariat of the subcommittee or the ISO member in your country.