May 20th, 2017 is the dawn of a new vaping era in the UK as it marks the official introduction of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
For those of you who may not follow the exciting world of government regulation, the TPD is a piece of EU legislation focused on regulating tobacco-based products.
The new laws cover all aspects of the tobacco industry. Some of the none ecig related changes include larger and mandatory pictorial health warnings and a ban on flavoured tobacco such as Menthol or Vanilla.
You can take a look at the key changes on the European Commission website here. We also wrote a fairly lengthy blog post covering the tobacco products directive and how it affects all aspects of the vaping industry which you can read here.
We wanted to write a new TPD post to solely cover e-liquids and how the new laws will impact what we do here at Red Vape.
A lot of hard work has been spent over the last year ensuring our e-liquids are fully TPD compliant and this in practice means our product range will see some changes. We’ve taken the TPD as an opportunity to further improve our e-liquids by redesigning some of the flavour profiles and enhancing our packaging.
As market leaders for UK made gourmet e-liquids we want to ensure that we continue to lead the way in terms of delivering quality to our customers.
What Changes Can the Consumer Expect?
Smaller Bottles - As any vaper will know e-liquids come in many different bottle sizes typically ranging anywhere from 10ml up to 180ml. For juices containing nicotine, all this will end with the maximum size permitted being only 10ml.
Restricted Nicotine Levels - There is currently no limit on the amount of nicotine that can be added to an e-liquid. When the TPD becomes law nicotine will be restricted to 20mg/ml.
The majority of liquids on the market today already fall below this level, so of all the changes this one should have the least impact. For Red Vape customers all our e-liquids were already compliant, and so you will see no restrictions imposed on our range.
Warning Labels - Every e-liquid sold must now contain a warning and information label/leaflet to provide details of the product to the consumer.
This will probably mean that the majority of e-liquids will now come in boxes as there is not enough room on the new 10ml bottles to show all the required information.
Packaging Safety - Electronic cigarettes and refill containers must be child and tamper proof and protect against leakage and breakage. Red Vape has always used tamper and child-proof bottle caps, and so the only real change for us has been a reduction in bottle size and a regrettable move from our glass bottles to a plastic option.
Notification Period - All new e-liquids brought to market must enter into a six month notification period before they can be legally sold. Although this should not impact your favourite e-liquids, it will slow down the pace of new flavours and innovations hitting the market.
Testing - All e-liquids that are being released for sale in the UK must now pass a series of tests to ensure they are safe for use and don’t contain any nasty ingredients.
The testing is relatively expensive, and every flavour and nicotine strength must be tested separately, so the costs soon mount up.
In terms of protecting the consumer, this is obviously good news. Vapers buying correctly tested liquids can be confident that they are safe to use. It also helps weed out some of the manufacturers who may not have had the best practices in the past.
From an industry perspective, it will again slow down new products and flavours reaching the shelves as every new flavour will be a big financial commitment. In terms of the testing Red Vape e-liquids have been through the below list details the key areas of the process;
- Chemical Content Screening of E-liquids and Emission Testing
- GC-MS Scans
- GC-MS (TD-GC-MS; For detection of diketones & nitrosamines)
- HPLC (For detection of aldehydes & nicotine dose consistency)
- ICP-MS (For detection of metals)
- Ingredient listing
- Detection of harmful and potentially harmful compounds
- Toxicology reports containing all relevant toxicity data for notifications
Advertising - E-cigarettes and related products have had the ability to advertise freely since they were first introduced. The TPD brings the laws for this type of product more in-line with traditional cigarettes. From the 21st May most types of online advertising, including any form of promotional language on social media, will be banned.
Oddly, the vast majority of more traditional marketing such as billboards, posters, cinema and leaflets are still permissible. From our perspective, this is regrettable, as we are a modern business much of our advertising and engagement with customers is done online. We will no longer be able to advertise product discounts or actively promote the brand online.
How Do You Know if Your E-liquid is TPD Compliant
If you want to make sure that the liquid your vaping has been properly tested and is TPD compliant then you can follow these basic steps;
- Check the bottle size, is it 10ml or smaller
- Does it come with a warning leaflet and is the liquid boxed
- Does it come with the following warning in a prominent and clearly visible place ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’
- Does it have an ECID (European Community Identification Number)
To make doubly sure you can visit the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website and follow the ‘submitted products’ link and click ‘list of submitted products – date’. This will download a (very large) Excel file detailing all products that have been submitted and their status.
Keep in mind there is a backlog so if you can’t see your favourites or they are listed as under review then keep checking for updates.
We’ve only touched on the parts of the laws that specifically effect e-liquids, and there are many more changes that impact e-cigarettes themselves. Many people feel that the new regulations have gone too far and effectively categorise vaping in the same bracket as smoking.
When bodies such as Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians all support vaping as a viable means of quitting smoking is it right they are grouped together in Government policy?
Pressure on the Government is mounting, and there is a hope that Brexit will allow the UK to repeal a law forced on the UK by the EU.