Ok, I admit this is a specialized guest post. Only a few of you will find this essential. But, I found the following pretty interesting. Remember, all guest post content is entirely that of the author!
Vaping and vape shops are fuelling a booming industry that has grown exponentially in recent years. This is why the government is working double-time to pass laws keeping it in check, and this is the year when these new regulations come into play.
To be more precise, a significant number of provisions in the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/14/EU (TPD) came into effect on May 20, 2017. The directive itself was passed in May 2016, but the vaping industry was given one year to adapt before penalties are meted out. The official overview of these regulations can be found at the UK government website. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-cigarettes-regulations-for-consumer-products
Here’s a quick breakdown of the new vape law, along with a brief analysis of what the law means for both vapers and vape shop owners:
- Cutting Out Additives. This one is pretty straightforward :caffeine, taurine, and colourings are banned from e-liquids. You should no longer get a ‘buzz’ from vaping TPD-compliant liquids, the same buzz you’d get from a cup of coffee or a stiff energy drink. Plainly-coloured liquids should also look less appealing to children.
- Registration with the MHRA. Producers and importers of vape products are now mandated to notify the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency about the products they intend to put out on the market. This covers both e-cigarettes and e-liquids. On one hand, it’ll be a hassle for entrepreneurs to quickly introduce new products into the UK and EU market. On the other hand, vapers should have an added layer of security thanks to the MHRA monitoring all vaping-related paraphernalia.
As producers of new e-cigarettes and refills must submit paper work 6 month prior to when they intend to put a product on the market it will slow down the developments of e-cigs in the UK and EU. This will also increase the costs for e-cigarette manufacturers and importers which will likely be passed on down the line to consumers.
- Quantity Caps. E-cigarette tanks should hold no more than 2 millilitres of liquid, while e-liquid refills should contain no more than 10 millilitres per container. This means no oversized e-cigarettes or vaporizers, though nothing is stopping vapers from stocking up as much as they want. This is just an inconvenience. Yes some great tanks will no longer be available but also vapers will have to refill more often, which means carrying around extra ejuice. However if you already have larger tanks you will still be able to continue using them.
- Nicotine Content Cap. The nicotine contained within e-liquids are to be capped at 20mg/ml. That’s a 2% concentration, which is already pretty high by vaping standards. That is, unless, the liquid is registered as a medicine. What this means is that casual vapers will not be exposed to excessive levels of addiction-inducing nicotine. Recovering smokers, however, can pick up medicinal formulations to help wean themselves off the drug. So for the vast majority of vapers who vape lower concentrations of nicotine they will expereince no difference.
- Anti-Tampering Measures. Packaging for e-liquids is now required to be child-resistant and tamper-evident. It’ll be much harder for anyone to mess around with the liquids without leaving evidence. Vapers can rest easier knowing they can spot any tampering, while vape shop owners can be held be responsible if the packaging is damaged during storage or transport.
- Labelling and Information. Ingredients that comprise 0.1% or more of the final formulation must be listed on the packaging. Flavours can simply be named (i.e. strawberry flavour), while any individual ingredients below the 0.1% threshold can be labelled as “other flavourings.” The TPD also requires instructions for the safe use of e-cigarettes. These instructions can be printed on the package or on a separate insert.
These six points form the meat and bones of the TPD. Vape shop owners are compelled to clear their old stock that does not conform to the regulations. If the shops are found to be selling non-compliant vaping paraphernalia, the owners face imprisonment of up to two years along with an unlimited fine. So make sure you don’t get caught out and go check your stock.
These two penalties give the vaping law real teeth; making it dangerous for vape shop owners to disregard the law. On the other hand, the implementation of the TPD should pose few concerns for most vapers. The only vapers that should be affected are those that prefer e-liquid formulations that give a buzz. These formulations often use caffeine, taurine, or nicotine – all of which have been banned by the TPD. Expect a small bump in prices also as with more legislation there will be more work to bring products to market and unfortunately this will likely be passed on to the consumers.