May 20th 2017 marks the day on which the European Tobacco Products Directive comes into full effect and enforcement. Retailers have had a year to sell their old non TPD compliant stock, and will from now, only be allowed to sell e-liquid and tanks deemed to be suitable for the European/UK Market.
“…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Yes the bell tolls. It tolls for thee, for me and indeed it tolls for ‘we’
As a consumer myself I’ve spent the past year or so fuming, raging, and reconciling myself (grumpily) to the changes we’re going to have to get used to. I’d expect that most people reading a vape related blog will already be clued up on how these changes will directly affect vapers. However, many vapers will have been happily tootling along completely unaware of TPD and the changes on the 20th of May might come as a surprise. So here’s the basic lowdown on the whole grubby affair and how it will directly affect the consumer:
E-liquid containing nicotine can now only be sold in 10ml bottles. These bottles also have to comply with certain packaging requirements. They are required to have child resistant caps, and have a ‘no-leak’ design.
Leak proof packaging, according to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/586 of 14/03/2016, is a bottle:
‘…possessing a securely attached nozzle at least 9 mm long, which is narrower than and slots comfortably into the opening of the tank of the electronic cigarette with which it is used and possessing a flow control mechanism that emits no more than 20 drops of refill liquid per minute when placed vertically and subjected to atmospheric pressure alone at 20 °C ± 5 °C..’
E-liquids containing nicotine can only be sold in 10ml bottles and contain NO MORE nicotine than 20mg/ml. If you are accustomed to vaping at a strength of 20mg+ then you won’t be able to buy premixed juices at that strength after 20/05/17. Don’t think that this doesn’t affect you if you make your own e-juice at home. The nicotine you would usually buy to add to your PG/VG and concentrates is now also subject to the 20mg/ml, 10ml bottle rule, unless it has a medical licence.
Note: PG, VG, flavour concentrates and E-liquids containing no nicotine (0mg) are not subject to TPD and all of these are fine to sell in bottles larger than 10ml.
Tanks, Clearomisers & Atomisers
Maximum tank capacity is now 2ml – yes that’s right, TWO millilitres! Read it and weep vaperinos and vaperinas!! That’s a lot of refilling if you vape at high wattages!
Sadly TPD is going to come at a cost to everyone. This is not confined to those who are involved in the vaping industry, and not just to those people that currently vape. Prices of vaping products will most likely increase, and might well put current smokers off trying e-cigarettes as a means of nicotine replacement while they quit. Some current vapers may well see the increased costs of vaping as a reason to go back to smoking, however only time will tell. Every person who might have quit smoking using e-cigarettes but didn’t, because they were put off by the idea that vaping wouldn’t be cost effective, potentially represents one more life lost because of this counterintuitive, and poorly conceived legislation.
Why are there increased costs?
Manufacturers and retailers of vaping products have had to take on board a LOT of extra expenses due to TPD. For example every E-liquid containing nicotine had to be registered and tested before May 2016 and this was not cheap. A significant number of e-liquid manufacturers closed down as they could no longer afford to continue making e-liquid. Many had to drastically reduce their range of flavours and nicotine strengths. Each flavour/strength had to be registered and tested individually, and the manufacturers simply couldn’t afford to put all of their products through TPD compliancy testing. The e-liquid you see on the shelves post 20/05/2017 is only there because the manufacturer of that liquid went to a lot of time, trouble, and expense to remain TPD compliant.
Tanks are now required to have an ECID, and be registered on the MHRA website. They also need to undergo emissions testing to check that they are capable of delivering a consistent dosage of nicotine. Again, none of this is cheap. Also consider that the tanks needed a full design overhaul to comply with TPD in the first place.
Then there is packaging to take into consideration. Almost all packaging was redesigned to comply with the new regulations . E-Liquid packaging now needs to display a whole bunch of specific warnings. This is inspite of the fact that most good E-juice manufacturers already had their own perfectly appropriate warning labels in place. The bottles had to be redesigned, and all E-liquid must now come supplied in a box.
You’ll start to see a lot of scary warning labels when you go into your local vape store:
Oddly enough compliant tanks, and mod kits containing tanks, require this label. Even though they don’t actually contain any nicotine until you add it. This has led to everything being repackaged. Of course, when it was noted that the new warnings effectively breached Trading Standards everything had to packaged AGAIN!
Trading Standards advised that a second warning is needed to warn the buyer that the first warning is essentially incorrect…still with me? So now the warning pictured above should be accompanied by the text:
Applies when the product is used with e-liquids containing nicotine.
I seriously have no idea what to say about that, it’s too silly for words. I mean you couldn’t make this stuff up.
So that’s all for now, I’ll be coming back to this subject in the future when we’ve all spent some time under the TPD yoke. We will have a better idea of the consequences of these changes down the line. In the meantime, please enjoy this very highbrow inspirational poem I wrote especially for you!
The bell tolls for us all,
But we’re in this as one.
Face the music,
Featured Image: http://bluucat.deviantart.com/art/ominous-clock-tower-254110930