Since the TPD laws came into play the vaping industry has been quietly reshaping itself according to customer demands. Out of that process has arrived short fill e-liquids or zero nicotine e-juice. Read this guide to find out more.

Massively popular in the UK, in a very short space of time, short fill e-liquids or ‘shortfills’ are the controversial new way to get more bang for buck from vaping. In this guide we examine the problems and pitfalls of large bottles of zero nicotine e-juice.

What exactly are zero nicotine short fill e-liquids?

Zero nicotine short fill e-liquids are essentially large bottles of vape juice that are under-filled. Each bottle is under-filled by just enough to add a bottle of high strength e-liquid or ‘nic shot‘. The end result is a large bottle of e-liquid that is now 3mg or 6mg in nicotine strength. Short fills have come about as a way of trying to bypass the strict TPD laws on e-liquid bottle size.

VIDEO: Watch below for an explanation of short fill e-liquids (AKA shake n’ vape).

Due to manufacturing costs and a host of other issues, the vaping public have shunned the 10ml bottles in favour of zero nicotine e-liquid in bigger ‘value’ bottles. whilst this is not unexpected, there are myriad of problems and pitfalls that come with it.

Are shortfill e-liquids legal to buy in the UK?

Technically, this is a big grey area for the industry. Short fill e-liquids are essentially putting two fingers up to the regulations by saying if there’s no nicotine then it doesn’t count. At Swytch Vaping we’ve talked about this and we think there is a big shock coming to the market. Whilst everyone in the UK are selling short fills, and everyone in the UK is buying short fills, that does not make it legal.

For example, to sell 10ml zero nicotine e-liquids they have to pass the TPD testing to be legal. If you bring out a range of e-liquids with 9mg, 6mg, 3mg and 0mg nicotine, the no nicotine e-liquids are subject to the same stipulations and regulations as the e-liquids that contain nicotine.With this logic in mind you could easily assume that short fill e-liquids are not legal to buy or sell in the UK.

Have short fill e-liquids been properly TPD tested?

In short, some are and some are not. With many of the bigger brands all they are doing for the UK market is selling larger short fill bottles of the same e-liquid flavours that are already TPD approved for the UK market. Consequently, you can be assured of the quality of the ingredients and that they don’t contain chemicals such as diacetyl which is linked with popcorn lung.

Beard Vape X-Series Short Fill E-Liquids are a good example of good quality zero nicotine e-liquids.
Beard Vape X-Series Short Fill E-Liquids are a good example of good quality zero nicotine e-liquids.

If you are buying 100ml short fill e-liquids off ebay for £11.99 a bottle there is no way these have been TPD tested. With that in mind, you really have no clue as to what nasty chemicals are contained within the e-liquid. I mean, if they are willing to bypass the law up front you can’t really expect them to care much about the health of their customers when all they’re looking to do is make a quick buck.

Alternatively, if you’re buying a 50ml short fill bottle of e-liquid from the Beard Vape X Series you know exactly what you are getting. This is where we would always recommend buying from the vaping companies that already have TPD tested & approved e-liquid on the market. If they are not subject to the same TPD regulations then you don’t really know what you are buying.

What are the inherent dangers of short fill e-liquids?

One aspect of the industry the TPD tried to address was the possible dangers of large bottles of nicotine laced e-liquid lying around the home. Consequently, the law aimed to reduce the possibility of exposing children to nicotine poisoning by capping the size of the bottle at 10ml. In a bizarre twist of fate we are in many respects back to where we were before the TPD was rolled out.

Surely this is dangerous legal territory for vaping companies. If a child was to be poisoned by a 100ml short fill surely the blame rests as much with the vaping company as it does with the person who bought the product? Time will tell on this score. Additionally, you know have 10’s of 1000’s of high strength flavourless e-liquid in the form of nicotine shots lying around the households of people who up until know only vaped on 3mg or 6mg nicotine e-liquid.

As a result, the reality has been even greater health risk exposure for children than before the TPD was introduced. This so the industry can continue to make a buck and vapers can continue to buy great value e-liquids.

Non TPD approved 100ml bottles of Smiths Sauce e-liquid short fill are available to anyone who doesn't value their health on ebay for £7.99.
Non TPD approved 100ml bottles of Smiths Sauce e-liquid short fill are available to anyone who doesn’t value their health on ebay for £7.99.

Is buying short fill e-liquids off ebay safe?

As per usual, ebay is a minefield for unregulated products where companies can make a fast buck breaking all the rules. A good example of this is Smiths Sauce 100ml bottles. At the time of writing this Smiths Sauce had sold over 2000 bottles of this Non TPD approved zero nicotine e-liquid. No doubt they are making a good living from this but have no doubts, you are risking your health buying this stuff.

Not only could it contain all manner of unregulated chemicals, do you really think this e-liquid was bottled under laboratory conditions? Of course it wasn’t. I don’t know for sure but I would guess it was thrown together in someones garage. This is dangerous ground for any company and a good example of how an industry that is pretty much owned and operated by ordinary folk will end up destroying itself. If you value your health you will steer clear of this unregulated marketplace.

Sadly, we know there are 10’s of 1000’s of bottles like this being sold on ebay every month. This is where the concept of short fill e-liquids leaps off the cliff to it’s impending death.

Mark Griffin
Mark Griffin

Mark has worked as a Graphic Designer for over 10 years. He has been Creative Director for many companies, having delivered high level media projects to companies such as BT & Blackberry. After numerous attempts to stop smoking Mark discovered e-cigarettes. Swytch Vaping was created from a firm belief in the power of vaping.

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