You have probably heard about the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Many vapers were unhappy about the prospect of increased regulation. But now all vaping related products which contain nicotine or which can be used to vape eliquids which contain nicotine, must be compliant with the new regulations. So, how has the TPD impacted vapers and what might happen in the future?
The New Regulations
The manufacturers and retailers of eliquids and vaping equipment were given a period of grace during which they could continue to sell non-compliant products. That transitional period ended 20 May 2017. All products then had to be compliant with the TPD. The new rules were aimed at improving safety for vapers and to prevent children from accidentally consuming eliquids. The resulting directive was complex and lengthy, as you can imagine, but amounted to the following:
- Child resistant and tamper proof packaging required for both liquids and devices
- Producers must notify the regulatory body of the ingredients in eliquids, the components in devices and the refilling mechanisms
- Devices must be protected against breakage and leakage and capable of being refilled without leakage
- Devices must deliver a consistent dose of nicotine per puff
- The capacity of tanks and cartridge must be no more than 2ml
- The nicotine strengths of eliquids must not exceed 20mg/ml
The TPD has raised a number of concerns amongst both vapers and retailers. It is impossible to accurately predict the impact of the TPD in the coming years. However, here are the concerns which have been raised and what has happened to far.
The TPD does not ban the sale of any specific flavours. Each member state does have the power to regulate eliquids further and it is possible that some may choose to do this. The UK government is showing no signs of wishing to institute any further regulation. The directive itself actually states that flavours could be beneficial in helping smokers to quit.
Producers are required to provide evidence that their ingredients are of a high standard and that their manufacturing processes are safe. The challenge they have been forced to overcome is the cost involved in modifying products and the expense of the notification process. Vapers felt that ranges would be streamlined because it would be hard for producers to absorb the cost of notifying every flavour and this has proved to be the case. Some of the brands which featured extensive menus have curtailed their offering. The less popular flavours have been axed.
There were fears that eliquids would become significantly more expensive for the consumer as the cost of compliance would inevitably be passed on to them by the manufacturers. There have been minor price increases but juice remains incredibly affordable. Concerns were expressed that the cost of compliance would drive some small producers out of business. However, the continued growth of the vaping market appears to have ensured that most will survive.
Eliquids can only be purchased in 10ml bottles which is an irritation but doesn’t prevent vapers from purchasing as much juice as they wish. This regulation is, therefore, rather pointless!
Tanks and Mods
The TPD does not ban any type of device but some variable voltage mods did not meet the required standards of safety. However, manufacturers will continue to develop new devices and will work hard to evolve equipment which is compliant.
It remains to be seen how the regulations will affect the availability of refillable tanks as, in practical terms, it is impossible to guarantee that no eliquid is spilled by the vaper during any type of refilling process. But how literally will the regulations be interpreted by the authorities? New and improved equipment has continued to come to market and vapers still benefit from a great choice of devices.
The restriction of tanks to a capacity of 2ml is an inconvenience to vapers but does not impact their vaping experience.
Nicotine content is now restricted to a maximum of 20mg/ml. This limit has not adversely affected everyone as many vapers already prefered eliquids with a lower nicotine content than this. Vaping devices are improving all the time. As more sophisticated equipment is developed, the nicotine delivery will become more efficient and this will compensate for the lower nicotine concentration. Vapers who find that they do not receive the desired hit will simply vape more to get the nicotine that they need. Another pointless regulation!
The TPD restricts the advertising of vaping products but does not prevent retailers from discussing their products with their clients. Vapers will still be able to share their experiences and opinions via forums and social media. Retailers are still permitted to notify their customers of new products which come to market.
The prospect of change is always disconcerting and is bound to send the rumour mill into overdrive. But vapers’ worst fears have failed to materialise. Manufacturers have risen to the challenge and have continued to innovate. Vapers are able to take advantage of safer and more efficient equipment. Naturally, there is no guarantee that there won’t be further restrictions in the future. But for the time being, at least, vapers will have noticed only minimal change. If new research substantiates the safety of vaping and smokers continue to quit in favour of vaping, the authorities may be forced to leave vaping alone!