Electronic Cigarettes in 2016 – E-Cig Regulations & Tobacco Products Directive (TPD)
On the 20th May 2016 vaping in the UK is going to face some changes in the form of new regulations and restrictions.
In 2014 Electronic cigarettes were classified as tobacco related products, meaning they now come under the EU Tobacco Products Directive, classifying them as tobacco related products.
These new rules set to be implemented across EU member states will specify how tobacco related products (including e-cigs) can be sold, presented and manufactured.
Some of the new rules that the TBD will enforce:
Maximum size of e-liquid containers is 10ml
This is going to hurt somewhat for the vapers out there with the larger more juicier tanks such as the TFV 4’s, it’s also going to hurt juice prices as manufacturers are likely to bundle 3 x 10ml bottles together for people wanting to buy larger quantities of their favourite juice; resulting in higher packaging cost being passed onto the customer. This regulation is to “reduce the chance of accidental nicotine poisoning”. Will smaller bottles help with people overdosing on nicotine? Not really in my opinion. Fear not though as you can still purchase any household bleach in a handy 5 litre bottle.
Maximum size of cartridge (tank, clearomizer, etc.) is 2ml
Tank capacity will be capped at 2ml, again to reduce the chance of accidental nicotine poisoning. Of all the reasons to regulate something I’m not sure accidental nicotine poisoning is a valid one, most vapers or e-cig users have probably experienced a nicotine overdose once or twice. Whether it’s because you just couldn’t get enough of that creamy strawberry or the nicotine strength you’re using is too much. Either way people quickly learn their limits and it rarely happens after. Having 2ml tanks are going to hurt the hobbyists the most, whereas beginner users are likely to only purchase e-cigs with that capacity anyway. I personally RDA, and I think most advanced users will move on to RDA’s in the long run to avoid this regulation.
Maximum Nicotine Strength 20mg
The highest nicotine strength I have seen is 24mg but I have heard of 30mg, the highest strengths are typically what heavy smokers will pick up to wean themselves off of cigarettes. Anything less and the smoker may not be getting the nicotine they would have been getting from smoking and may not find e-cigs any use. The higher the nicotine as well the stronger the throat hit which is often what smokers desire when making the change. This is going to hit advanced vapers the least as most people who have been long term vaping (1 year +) will typically be on 0-6mg.
Electronic cigarettes must provide a consistent dose of nicotine
Hard to regulate, no current device can produce a consistent dose because it is down to the user to decide how long they want to draw in from the device for and what sort of voltage they are firing at. Perhaps new regulations will appear for all e-cigs to have to fire for a certain amount of time and must not go above a certain wattage – something that could really hit the e-cig market hard.
E-cigs and refill containers must have a mechanism to ensure leak free refilling
No current e-cig is leak proof in my opinion, you only have to leave one in your pocket or on its side on a table long enough to find that out. E-cig leakage is 95% down to the user, and is mostly a problem for inexperienced users. It’s something everyone goes through and very quickly learns to deal with after washing the sticky e-liquid off their hands one too many times!
E-cig and E-liquid manufacturers must notify and submit information to their member state for each and every product, product variation they wish to sell
Anyone manufacturing or selling e-cigs must notify and submit information to their member state for each and every product/variation. This includes ingredients lists, detailed emissions data, toxicological data, information on nicotine doses and absorption data, opening and refilling mechanisms and production processes. While this isn’t a bad thing, as I believe things should be regulated in today’s day and age, maybe some of these are a little too far. After all, the companies having to comply e-cig costs are going to be facing higher costs which will only be passed on the consumer making e-cigs less attractive.
How will the TPD change the way you vape?
- The majority of tanks could possibly be banned out, as they do not “have a mechanism that ensures refilling without leakage”.
- Increased cost, reduced choice and availibity of products.
- A massive reduction in e-liquid varities. Companies will need to provide detailed information on their product – such as all of the chemical components in the liquid and vapour, how addictive the product is and all the components of the liquid when inhaled.
- No more 120mls, 60mls or 30mls, just 10ml e-liquid bottles, resulting in a higher cost for the consumer.
- Variable voltage and variable wattage products may be banned. Back to “Electronic cigarettes must provide a consistent dose of nicotine” point, whether they will try to regulate it this way only time will tell.
- The possibility of an EU wide ban if 3 member states decide a product “could present a serious risk to human health”.
A Final Note
I personally believe the e-cig industry needed a little regulation as it’s relatively new and there was very little regulation before. However looking at these new regulations I think the group of people responsible for writing these up are totally uneducated on e-cigs and possibly oblivious to potentially how life-saving this alternative to tobacco smoke is. That or big tobacco wants its customers back. On the bright (dim) side; to help comply with these regulations shops are going to be given a year to sell off all stock that doesn’t match regulation criteria, so you have you have plenty of time to grab that 120ml of your favourite juice, or grab a 5ml tank so you don’t have to refill 27 times a day. I believe these regulations will change, it will just take time for people realise how beneficial e-cigs are in helping smokers, e-cigs being possibly the best way to quit smoking due to it mimicking a lot about actually smoking. Let’s just hope it’s not too long before people see sense aye!