Is ELFC ready for the TPD? You bet we are!
First of all, what is the TPD?
TPD stands for the Tobacco Products Directive. It is a body of legislation that will apply across the European Union regulating the sale, manufacture and distribution of tobacco products. As vapers, we are particularly interested in article 20 of the TPD, this is the bit that relates to e-cigarettes. And yes, the EU considers your e-cigarette to be a tobacco product.
At the time of writing, the TPD is due to come into effect in May 2016, and all vaping products must be compliant by May 2017.
For the record, ELFC does not agree that implementing article 20 of the TPD will make e-cigarettes safer or reduce harm from tobacco use. We believe that e-cigarettes have the potential to save millions of lives and reduce the financial burden placed on individuals and healthcare systems around the world as a result of tobacco related illnesses. We feel that many aspects of article 20 are heavy handed, and that others are completely illogical. We are concerned that article 20 could make e-cigarettes more expensive a less readily available to smoking looking to quit.
However, we are encouraged by the UK Government's minimal approach to the implementation of article 20, and by Public Health England’s statement saying that “E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco and could be prescribed on the NHS in future.”
Let’s take a closer look at how the TPD will affect vaping.
Every e-cigarette kit, tank, cartridge and nicotine containing e-liquid will need an ECID number to be placed on the market within the European Union. To get an ECID, products must be tested and analyzed to make sure they comply with article 20 of the TPD and are safe to use. ECIDs will be issued by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK.
E-Liquid with Nicotine:
All nicotine containing e-liquid will be limited to 10ml bottles and 20mg nicotine strength. Also, it is predicted that the cost of nicotine containing e-liquid will rise following the implementation of the TPD. This is because all e-liquid manufacturers will have to get an ECID for every flavour in every strength. The cost of getting one e-liquid ECID is predicted to be between £3000 and £10000. This additional cost is likely to be passed onto the consumer.
E-Liquid without Nicotine:
Nicotine free e-liquid is not affected by the TPD.
Flavour concentrates are not affected by the TPD.
Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerine:
PG and VG are not affected by the TPD.
The TPD rules clearly state that nicotine containing liquid can only be sold to consumers in 10ml bottles and can be no stronger than 20mg. However, this does not apply to trade sales. We are planning on setting up a wholesale area of our website that will allow those wanting to purchase nicotine concentrate at 72mg for commercial purposes to do so. This means that we will stop selling our 50ml, 100ml and 250ml bottles of nicotine concentrate and only provide 72mg nicotine concentrate to trade customers in bottle sizes of 500ml and above. For end users, we will soon start to provide 'Nicotine Shots' for those vaping at 6mg or less, and 'Just Add Flavour' bottles of nicotine base liquid for those who vape e liquid at above 6mg. We plan to sell these nicotine solutions at the lowest price possible so that the cost benefits of DIY e liquid can still be maintained. If you are worried about the future of DIY e liquid - don't be! We have looked extensively into the TPD and its effects on DIY e liquid and we feel that the future is bright. Pre-mixed e liquid will become more standardised and there will be a lot less choice for vapers. This is because testing is very expensive and a lot of small e liquid manufactures will simply not be able to afford it. Instead, we expect to see a lot of current e liquid manufactures moving into making flavour concentrates so that their products can remain on the market, meaning that DIY vapers can experience many more exciting flavours and still save a whole load of cash!
Any e-cigarette kit containing a tank and/or e-liquid will need to be tested and receive an ECID as a kit. It is likely that kits will become less common and individual items will be sold separately.
Batteries and Mods:
Batteries and mods do not need ECIDs unless they are part of a kit. However, the advertising of batteries and mods is restricted.
Pre-filled cartridges will still be available as long as they hold no more than 2ml of e-liquid.
Like cartridges, tanks will be limited to a 2ml e-liquid capacity. Also, they will need to have a ‘leak free’ filling system. This issue of ‘leak free’ filling systems was a concern to vapers and manufacturers when first announced, but it appears that many top-fill tanks will be compliant with this regulation.
Coil heads will be tested as part of the tank. If the tank meets the TPD requirements then the coil heads for that tank will be available for sale. If a tank has coil heads in multiple resistances, then each resistance will need to be tested.
RTAs as we know them are likely to disappear from the market as it is impossible to test a tank that has no coil and wick installed. However, it is likely that RTAs will start to be manufactured with rebuildable coil heads. This allows the products to be tested and vapers to make their own coils.
Unfortunately, RDAs are unlikely to meet the requirements of the TPD as they do not have leak free filling systems. It appears that RDAs will no longer be legally available in the EU after May 2017.
High drain battery cells are not affected by the TPD.
Wicks and Wire:
All types of wire and wicking materials are not affected by the TPD.
Vaping products affected by the TPD will no longer be able to be promoted from May 2016. This restriction does not apply to posters or billboard advertising. Sponsorship by e-cigarette companies is also prohibited. However, the UK Government has drawn a line between promotional and information material. Example: ELFC will still be able to promote our flavour concentrates in any way we wish as they are not affected by the TPD, but we will only be able to inform you about the strength, bottle size, directions of use etc. of our nicotine concentrate. Customers should still receive emails from their favourite e-liquid and hardware retailers regarding new products.
As with any piece of legislation, the TPD could be changed or updated in the future. ELFC will always try to keep our customers informed about any regulation change that could affect our services or the vaping industry. If you have any further questions about the TPD, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.