TPD stands for the Tobacco Products Directive, and it came into full effect in the UK on 20 May 2017 following a 12-month transition period.
Here Graham McKenzie, International Operations Manager of e-cigarette liquid provider, Flavour Boss, discusses the TBD regulations and how they'll affect the e-cigarette industry once they're introduced in May 2017.
The first Tobacco Products Directive from the EU was released in 2001, with the aim of cutting tobacco use across Europe, although this first instance only applied to traditional cigarettes. However in 2014, the directive was altered to include e-cigarettes by classifying them as an additional tobacco-related product.
How does vaping help people to quit smoking?
The use of electronic cigarettes helps people wean themselves of traditional cigarettes by still providing the same hand to mouth actions that will be missing from their daily schedule. They also will still receive the "hit" at the back of the throat that they would lose as well as, of course, nicotine, which is the addictive substance. All these combined into a healthier alternative to smoking. Tobacco use in general, people want to quit, mainly for the health benefits which falls in line with the Royal College of Physicians report on it being AT LEAST 95% safer than smoking. With all that combined, why wouldn't you want to switch to vaping instead of smoking traditional cigarettes?
How can they control what goes into their e-liquid?
There are several ways to go about this at Flavour Boss we have technical data sheets called MSDS sheets on each concentrate that goes into making our e-liquids and boss shots. In line with this, they can control exactly what is in their e-liquid with all information freely available to them. The TPD that is to be fully implemented on May 20th will be an addition to new users to see that manufacturers will be compliant and following regulations on what can and cannot be used.
How much will the increase in cost be for those who are currently vaping?
Undoubtedly so. The actual cost increases are still to be seen and will be interesting to see how much the prices do go up. Hardware vendors that wholesale to UK Clients have already warned of 5-20% price increase on hardware alone. Many companies with a lot of various flavours of e-liquid will need to spend well over £350,000 just to have one set of liquids tested. This cost will not be absorbed by the businesses, as it would lead them to close. Therefore, the cost will come back to base consumers.
In the UK, everyone pays VAT from registered companies. There are proposals to tax vaping even further. Which is passed (the governments like money so it will be hard to argue with them) will lead to massive increases to manufacturers. This cost will also relay back onto the customers who may encourage them to go back to smoking traditional cigarettes. We do not want that to happen, ever. Hence why Flavour Boss and everyone else in the vaping industry will fight as hard as we possibly can to battle the governments and damaging tax proposals.
How much will the sizes and strength change?
Any E-Liquid with nicotine will be limited to a 10ml bottle, whereas previously it could be any size. While Flavour Boss is not affected by this (as our range will go to zero nicotine, with the addition of nicotine shots to be added) a lot of users that do not mix their liquid at home and buy from retailers will be affected.
Most intermediate to advanced users use upwards of 30-60ml of e-liquid per day, and these regulations will increase the number of plastic bottles needing to be produced, therefore environmentally, there will be a massive increase of these small bottles being wasted. This was raised to the European Commission regarding this, and they just ignored and did not respond to anything the vaping industry was saying to them.
The EU along with the UK Government have been heavily influenced by people that do not want to vape to happen at all, including BAT (British & American Tobacco) who have actively planted seeds with senior politicians with false facts especially with regards to the use of 10ml bottles. The only way to combat this 10ml bottle limit is to make your e-liquid at home to which you will not be restricted to container size.
Regarding strengths. This has probably been the biggest blow. Currently, before the legislation comes into full force, the regular customer could get nicotine to the strength of 72mg for dilution in making your liquids at home. The highest strength liquids manufacturers sold as ready-made e-liquid was 36 & 24mg. The reason for this being so high is to give the user, particularly new users, the nicotine required from transferring over from traditional cigarettes. This is being reduced as with the e-liquid bottles to the maximum strength of 20mg. This is a concern for people who DIY and do not for several reasons listed below.
DIY Users (Mixing at Home) –
Instead of being able to purchase 500ml of Nicotine at 72mg strength for using at home to make their juice, they will need to buy "18mg nic shots" this will require you to have between 8 and 24 bottles to make your liquid at home. This is MASSIVE wastage, a massive increase in costs. It's a factor that is putting people off mixing at home, which originally and still will save you money over traditional cigarettes.
With the strength being dropped and the increase of tiny bottles made to specific requirements increase, wastage increases. They figure that the average user that makes liquid at home will have over 400 of these small bottles as wastage, over ONE bottle of 500ml Nicotine at 7.2%(72mg)
Retail Non-DIY Customers –
Flavour Boss along with others worry about the people that don't mix at home the most. The reason for this is like myself; I used 36mg then 24mg to work my way down on nicotine dependence. This is no longer going to be an option for 98% of people. With this in mind, it's worrying for people trying to come from cigarettes to vaping that they won't be able to make the transition because simply the liquid is too weak.
As mentioned above, environmentally, the wastage will soar. This gets on my nerve to be fair as there is simply NO reason for it. When the EU politicians were asked to explain the reasoning and if they realised the increased risk environmentally with the growth of wasted bottles, they could not come up with any answer that even made sense. It's extremely disappointing that we have these people elected in charge to apparently ignore the benefits for e-cigarettes to line their own pockets.
Can people smoke vapes indoors following the regulations?
The regulations do not constrict vaping indoors and this is up to each individual establishment as to whether they allow this in their building or not. Most are lumping vaping into the same category as smoking and banning them from the use in their establishments without checking the science behind 2nd hand vapour. This has already been conclusively proved that it does not affect the 2nd user in any way.
There are establishments which have advertised themselves as user-friendly, and as a new building community, we should show our support to them for this, as it is refreshing to see that people are making decisions for themselves and not being dictated to by someone who quite frankly doesn't have a clue.