A RAPIDLY expanding manufacturer of e-cigarettes has warned extra testing of products demanded by EU regulations could force some of the smaller players in the industry out of business.

David Extance, managing director of E-Quits Limited, based in Romsey, said that EU rulings could demand that all “vaping” products, new and existing, undergo new safety tests under Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

E-Quits Limited have in their brand portfolio, Lonjas UK, Vaping Warehouse, Phil The Greek, Patti Bakers Pastry, The Olde Sweetshop and manufacture for 27 other brands.

In total they manufacture 350 different flavours which could all need testing at £6,000 a time. We can bear the cost at the moment,” said David.

But he warned: “Many companies will go to the wall.”

David, who advises the All Parliamentary Group for E-Cigarettes, explained that the new regulations, set to come in to force on May 20 were in “disarray” as the EU had said some rules were mandatory and some were being left to the MHRA to set.

E-Quits Limited has recently added another brand to their portfolio by purchasing a 51 per cent share of Heidi Heisenberg Limited, who trade under the name of Fetish Gourmet Elixirs, in Kettering.

David said: “We have been keeping a keen eye on Fetish Gourmet Elixirs for sometime and have been impressed with their brand presence along with their ever increasing ‘vape’.”

He added: “We, as a company, wanted to protect the work of Fetish Gourmet to see them through the Tobacco Products Directive that will be implemented in May of this year, so they can continue to serve their customers, and protect their ten-strong workforce based in Kettering.

The partnership will see a new branding of the company, changing to ‘Heidi Heisenberg’s Fetish Gourmet’.

Heidi Davies, who created Fetish Gourmet Elixirs in 2014, is delighted with the acquisition, saying: “We knew the TPD would be one hurdle too far for us, as a company to continue, and we are delighted that E-Quits have come in to secure what we produce here in Kettering and securing the future of our staff.

“We are delighted that we can continue producing our flavour combinations for our ever increasing customer base.”

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith has been invited to attend the next APPG in April and it is hoped that he will put pressure on Jeremy Hunt to re-evaluate the TPD Article 20, to bring sensible regulation.

Mr Extance said that with a referendum due, it would be disastrous to deny a possible 3.2m voters the right to a product that – in the words of Public Health England – is 95 per cent safer than smoking tobacco products.