According to Smoking in England research from 2014, e-cigs may have helped approximately 20,000 people stop smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes who would not have been able to kick the habit otherwise.
But in the very same year, electronic cigarettes were added to the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), even though they do not contain this harmful substance. Therefore, the vaping industry will have to adapt to these changes in 2016 and beyond.
Details of the revised Tobacco Products Directive
As part of the revised TPD, electronic cigarettes will be regulated as a tobacco related product. This means that rules relating to how e-cigs are sold, presented and manufactured will come into force across EU member states on 20th May 2016. Some of the rules include:
- The size of refill containers – To reduce the chances of accidental poisoning, the maximum size of refill containers of nicotine, containing liquid, will be just 10ml, which is much smaller than the current norm.
- The size of cartridges – The maximum size of cartridges or tanks must not exceed 2ml, which again is in contrast to a lot of current electronic cigarettes.
- Nicotine strength of e-liquid – A lot of people wanting to quit smoking typically start with a nicotine e-liquid strength of 24mg. However, the TPD states that the maximum nicotine strength of e-liquid will now be 20mg.
- Consistent dose of nicotine – In many respects this rule is unworkable, as e-cig users are able to draw for as little or as long as they like.
- Leak-free refilling – Once more, this is largely down to the user. But the TPD states that e-cigs and refill containers must have a mechanism to ensure leak-free refilling.
- Product prohibition – If three member states prohibit a particular e-cig because they believe it’s a health risk, this ban will be extended to every other country in the EU.
Along with these rules that relate to vapers, the TPD has also implemented a number of regulations for electronic cigarette manufacturers too. Information that must be passed on to their member state include – but is not limited to – ingredient lists, detailed emissions data, production processes, and sales volumes.
Changes to the way you vape
Although it remains to be seen how retailers and manufacturers will respond to the TPD, vapers are bound to notice a change in the design and capabilities of electronic cigarettes.
Refillable products may be taken off the market because they do not have a mechanism to eliminate leakage, while replacing the head on your atomizer might not be possible either, as its akin to ‘tampering’. Variable-voltage and variable-watt products could disappear too, as electronic cigarettes must deliver nicotine doses at consistent levels under normal conditions of use.
But there could still be a twist in the tale. The European Free Vaping Initiative is collecting signatures in opposition to the TPD and plans to take its case to the European Citizens’ Initiative, an EU mechanism that allows concerned citizens to express their opinion about certain subjects, in this case vaping.