What Can We Do to Save Vaping? The EU and the TPD

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The EU

What Can We Do to Save Vaping? The EU and the TPD

The position of the vaping industry in the European Union (EU) is very similar to the American one. The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which will be implemented in May of 2016 throughout the EU, will probably be nearly as destructive as the deeming regulations.

Among other rules, the TPD will limit all retail e-liquid to bottles 10ml or smaller, limit e-liquid to strengths of 20mg/ml or lower, limit refillable devices (tanks) to 2ml or less, and require tanks and all refillable devices to be leakproof.

On the (slightly) bright side, the British government has decided that, in the UK at least, vendors will have a full year to sell any remaining non-compliant products, consumers will be able to buy from vendors in other countries (as long as they prove an online age verification system), and that zero-nicotine products will not be covered by the rules.

There are restrictions on advertising too, and it appears they will be very harsh.

Andy Sutton from the UK has made an excellent video exploring the advertising rules.

British eliquid maker Totally Wicked has challenged implementation of the TPD in the European Court of Justice. While that case is not decided yet — and is really the only hope to prevent the TPD from going into effect just six months from now — the court’s advocate general issued an opinion in December that the TPD is valid. Experts say that all but guarantees that the court will decide against Totally Wicked’s challenge.

I strongly suggest reading Christopher Snowdon’s short summary of the TPD, and Clive Bates’s slightly longer one. There are links on Clive’s page to more about the court case too.

Since individual countries within the EU have a lot of latitude in how they enforce the TPD rules, I suggest contacting the organizations that represent vapers and vendors in each country to find more details on how the process will be handled there.

As with the deeming regulations in the US, the TPD will change how many companies do business, and will restrict access and choice for vapers and for smokers interested in trying vapor products. It’s important that vapers learn the issues, and stand up whenever possible to oppose unjust regulations.

Here’s a brief list of organizations representing vapers and vendors in Europe. Please check out the ones in your country. If I’ve missed any, please let me know or make a comment.

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Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.
  • FergusReturns

    One of the most troubling aspects of the TPD is that there’s a notification period for all new products. The manufacturer or importer has to submit a pile of paperwork then wait for six months before they can start selling it. There’s no sign that anything will actually be done with this paperwork; it’s just a box-ticking exercise that vendors have to pay for. The problem is that, right now, six months is longer than the entire life cycle of a typical product. In half a year the average mod goes from the latest new shiny thing, to 50% off in a clearance sale, to replaced by a newer, better and probably cheaper model. Vendors in the EU are basically screwed. Who wants to buy something that’s already six months out of date? Nobody. So most vapers are just going to order directly from China.

    • Jim McDonald

      The problem of a rapidly changing industry being strangled by the snail’s pace of regulators is one that’s going to be an issue around the world. Thanks a lot for bringing that up, Fergus. You’re extremely knowledgeable on all things vaping; I hope you’ll jump in here frequently!

  • Liam Bryan

    Another is that the boutique eliquid market is effectively wiped out, mixologists (whose job is basically to find new ways to give pleasure to people), who create gorgeous concoctions that we as vapers love, and WHO DO NO HARM, their efforts will be replaced by the kinds of recipes that people who can afford to pay £3000 in tests alone (conservative estimate) per flavour, per PG/VG mix and per nicotine strength will come up with. And wait 6 months for the fun of doing so!

    • Jim McDonald

      Agreed! And an unintended consequence of that is that many people will turn to DIY, some of whom will be less concerned with safety that they should be. These rules create far more risks than they eliminate — and all in the name of health.

  • Lollylulubes

    In over ten years, no harms have come to light from vaping. It should be illegal for governments and legislators, by disproportionate regulation, to effectively wipe out an entire industry, with all the businesses and jobs that entails, and give it to the giant tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.

    • Jim McDonald

      The original proposals by the EU were even worse. It was mainly a massive outcry from activist vapers like you that prevented adoption of strict medical regulation of all e-cigs.

  • Matt MigVapor

    Thanks for the informative article, Jim.

  • Valter Nascimento

    Hello guys. I have an important question, I live in Portugal, and for 3 times I imported 1 mod and box mod from the Philippines and other box mod from the USA. With this TPD stupidity, I won’t be able to purchase mods from the vaping companies that I love and admire so much?