Importing vape juice from the US: What you need to know

Vape Tank

If there’s one universal truth about the vaping community, it’s that everyone is always on the hunt for ways to add a bit of variety to their experience.

One of the best ways to do that is by trying a new vape juice, and there’s no better way to do that than by ordering your e-liquid from abroad. The world’s biggest market for vaping products is the United States, and despite a recent ban on flavoured pods and cartridges, there’s still plenty of variety available for those who want to import their e-liquid from the US to the UK.

So, what’s the experience like if you import your vape juice from the US? It turns out that, between the US and the UK, e-liquid differs in more ways than you might realise. Let’s explore those differences.

Will US Vape Juice Sellers Ship to the UK?

In most cases, e-liquid sellers in the United States are happy to accept international business. Always check the seller’s website before you buy. You’ll likely find a statement disclaiming responsibility for packages seized by customs and stating that it is your responsibility to abide by all local laws when importing products containing nicotine. In short, sellers will usually ship to you, but they will not accept any claims for lost goods once those goods have left their warehouse.

You May Pay Import Duties for US E-Liquid

The best way to find out what other people have experienced when importing e-liquids from the United States is to check the UK-based vaping forums. The reports on the UK vaping forums suggest that most people who have imported e-liquids from the US have done so without experiencing any problems. Some people have reported paying import duties for vape juice, but those reports are rare. Most e-liquid sellers mark the packages as containing general merchandise, and if the value of the merchandise in a package is small, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to worry about import duties.

Before you order vape juice from the US, it’s a good idea to check with the shipper and find out how they fill out their customs forms. That’ll give you a better idea of whether you’ll need to pay import duties for your e-liquid. Remember that customs agents have the right to open and inspect any package upon entry into the UK.

Higher Nicotine Strengths Are Available in the US

One of the biggest differences in vape juice between the US and the UK is that the US doesn’t share our limit on e-liquid nicotine strengths. In the UK, the highest available strength for a bottle of e-liquid with nicotine – even nicotine salt – is 20 mg. In the United States, though, virtually all nicotine salt vape juice comes in strengths of 25 mg and higher. If you want to experience using the JUUL e-cigarette with its original nicotine strength of 59 mg, for example, you can do that if you import your e-liquid from the United States.

Importing JUUL pods from the US, however, has a serious drawback that we’ll discuss in a moment. If you’re a recent convert from smoking, though, and you’re not satisfied with the nicotine strengths available in the UK, importing e-liquid from the US might be the perfect option for you.

Shortfill Vape Juice Doesn’t Exist in the US

Here’s another benefit of importing vape juice from the US. Do you like to buy your e-liquid in big bottles? Are you tired of the constant ritual of opening shortfill bottles and dumping in nicotine shots? That’s not necessary with US vape juice because the United States has no restriction on e-liquid bottle sizes.

You can buy pre-mixed nicotine e-liquid from the US with whatever nicotine strength you like. It’s much more convenient – and much less messy – than buying shortfill e-liquids and nicotine shots separately.

The US May Have Less Flavour Variety Than the UK

Although there are many benefits to importing e-liquid from the US to the UK, there is also one major potential drawback aside from the increased shipping charges that you’ll probably pay. In the United States, vaping industry regulations enacted in 2016 prevent any company from releasing a new e-liquid flavour without first going through a complicated and expensive application process. The process is burdensome enough that, for most small businesses in the vaping industry, releasing a new e-liquid is effectively impossible.

Since 2016, no new e-liquid has gone through the application process and has been legally released in the United States. A few companies have skirted the regulation and released new e-liquids anyway, but any company that does so is taking a serious risk. For the most part, companies have abided by the rule and have only re-released e-liquids that were already available under different names.

In the UK, on the other hand, the regulatory burdens for new e-liquid companies are relatively reasonable. Unlike in the US, the vape juice industry has continued to develop and evolve here. You may find that the UK offers greater variety within your favourite e-liquid flavour categories.

The final thing you need to know about vape juice flavours in the United States is that, in early 2020, the Food and Drug Administration enacted a ban on pre-filled e-cigarette cartridges and pods in flavours other than tobacco and menthol. You can get your JUUL pods from the United States in the original nicotine strength of 59 mg, but you can’t buy those pods in the flavours that you may prefer.

Don’t Forget to Order Replacement Glass for Your Tank

Have you decided that importing vape juice from the US is the right decision for you? If you have, don’t forget to order a replacement glass enclosure for your tank before you check out. Here in the UK, we have a limit on the capacities of all vaping tanks; no tank can be larger than 2 ml. If you use a serious cloud chasing tank, that restriction can be a real downer. Grab a replacement enclosure from your favourite US vape shop and enjoy a major upgrade for your vaping experience. The sub-ohm tanks available in the United States are much larger than the ones available here.