Retailers must work with “credible brands” or face the disastrous consequences of getting stuck with non-compliant e-cigarettes when EUTPD II comes into force next year, manufacturers have warned.

Companies face costs of hundreds of thousands of pounds to ensure their products meet new government rules. However, Blu UK market manager Zoe Wragg said “minor and middling players will struggle to find the money”.

Blu estimates there are between 500 and 1,000 e-cigarette brands in the UK, but this number will “reduce massively”.

“There are a lot of smaller manufacturers out there who have got their pension fund invested in a lot of stock in their garage. They’re going to be keen to shift their stock, because they have no intention of making their ranges compliant,” she told an RN roundtable this month.

“If you buy a product that’s not compliant and not from a credible source, your margin is going to be eroded. Ask suppliers what their plans are for EUTPD II and when their products are going to be compliant.”

If you buy a product that’s not compliant and not from a credible source, your margin is going to be eroded

From 20 November, manufacturers must cease production of non-compliant stock, however sale of this stock will only be prohibited from 20 May 2017.

Richard Russell, brand manager at Diamond Mist, echoed Ms Wragg’s warning. “A lot of smaller companies won’t have the financial backing for compliance, particularly as each individual SKU needs to be tested,” he said. “We have spent the past 12 months making sure our products are compliant, and will be sending out a booklet for retailers to ensure they have the information they need.”

Paul Lucas, of K&P News in Coventry, said: “I sell Vivid e-cigarettes and I’ve not heard anything about the changes in legislation. I’d welcome some literature from my rep. We retailers need to know what’s going on.”

David Charman, from Spar Parkfoot, said: “The best thing to do is confirm after every delivery from May this year, and make sure that if stock is not compliant it is taken on a sale-or-return basis.”