Electronic Cigarettes in 2016 – How E-cig UK regulation is set to change vaping.
We all know that the rules of vaping electronic cigarettes is set to change in May this 2016 in the UK but what are these changes? The following should help clear things up abit….
The first EU Tobacco Products Directive was released back in 2001. It’s main aim was to reduce tobacco amongst the younger generation. In 2014, behind closed doors it was decided to add electronic cigarettes to this directive to allow regulation of these devices by classifying them as tobacco related products. After several failed attempts to get a majority to agree on the new revision to include e-cigs, these new regulations were put together with several other proposals such as plain packaging, tighter age restrictions and larger health warnings for tobacco cigarettes to finally get enough votes for it to pass.
The newly revised Tobacco Products Directive proposes to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco related product. These new rules set to be implemented across EU member states will specify how tobacco related products (included e-cigs) can be sold, presented and manufactured. The new directive will come into force on the 20th May 2016.
Some of the new rules that the TPD require all member states (including the UK) to abide by include:
- The maximum size of refill containers of nicotine containing liquid is to be of 10ml.
- The maximum size of cartridges or tanks should not exceed 2ml.
- The maximum nicotine strength is being limited to 20mg which is around the same strength of a strong cigarette.
- E-cigs and refill containers must have a mechanism to ensure leak free refilling.
- Manufacturers will also have onerous testing, reporting and monitoring obligations. Advertising the products will be prohibited.
- If that’s not bad enough, a manufacturer or supplier will need to inform the regulator of every new product six months in advance, while every change also needs six months’ notice.
- Electronic cigarettes must provide a consistent dose of nicotine.
- E-cigs and refill containers must have a mechanism to ensure leak free refilling.
- If a “competent authority” believes any product may present a health risk they may be prohibited.
- If 3 member states prohibit a product this can then be extended to all EU member states, in other words a blanket wide EU ban.
- On top of the restrictions on products there is plenty of unnecessary red tape and requirements for manufacturers and distributors to comply with.
Our Thoughts and Possible Flaws Regarding 2016 Ecig Law
Reading through the proposed legislation I immediately see some issues and also see some conflicting arguments. Here are the laws broke down:
Maximum size of refill container 10ml
This is a little hazy. Refill Container? What’s that even mean? Is that saying that the most eliquid you can buy at one time is 10ml? Or more likely the bottle cannot be over 10ml? If it’s just the bottle then people can still buy 25 x 10ml bottles in one order if they wish. This seems strange as our customers still receive the same amount of eliquid, only it costs more with the extra packaging. If we consider the other side to the coin are they limiting 10ml per order? People would have to travel to there vape shop every day for this making it ridiculous. If people can buy multiple bottles at once, why not allow 30ml and 100ml sales to cut down on packaging and damage to the environment with excess plastic packaging?
Even more confusing, is this law limited just to the sale of eliquid? What I mean by this is will it be perfectly legal to carry around a 30ml eliquid bottle in your pocket, or will this be an offense.
The new legislation states “liquids containing nicotine” has a max size of 10ml. Does this exclude 0mg eliquid? Is that not regulated the same way? Also consider eliquid ingredients sold separately. If eliquid is being limited to 10ml, I doubt ingredients for eliquid are being treated the same way. Soon you cannot buy 30ml eliquid, but there will be nothing stopping you ordering 1 litre of VG, 1 litre of PG, loads of flavourings and a 10ml bottle of pure high concentrated nicotine. Separating the ingredients for this loophole will cause people to have 10ml bottles of highly concentrated pure nicotine lying about making it more dangerous.
The new legislation will not limit the size of bottles for the ingredients of eliquid seperately as these products are not just used with ecigarettes. PG/VG are used with hundreds of applications, primarily within baking and food industries and readily available in boots, asda, etc. Nicotine is also available for many industries and not just eliquid, plus flavourings are standard food flavourings that are available all over the world with no limiting bottle size. So what’s stopping eliquid vendors from selling 100ml of 0mg juice, along with a 10ml bottle of highly concentrated nicotine they have to add to the 100ml themselves? Maybe a loop hole?
Tank Size and Operation
This is one of the most retarded laws to be coming. They want to make the whole ecig completely leak proof, yet with a 2ml maximum capacity, people have to refill the tanks 3-5 times more often, increasing the chances of spills. There are some ecigs, like the nebox from kanger, that have a leak proof integrated 10ml capacity tank, 5 times greater than the new legal limit. Nothing is wrong with this device and it saves you refilling constantly, but this and many others will soon be illegal to buy/sell in the UK.
The nicotine strength is going to be limited to 20mg which makes sense. thats the same as a strong cigarette and quite high in eliquid circles. Companies will probably offer a maximum of 16-19mg however to ensure that they definitely do not exceed the 20mg maximum. How will this affect people who mix their own juices though? Can they still buy high concentrated pure nicotine separately greater than 20mg?
Tanks and Ecigs
It’s not just 2ml capacity that will affect tanks either. ALL tanks must be TOTALLY leak proof and also feature leak proof refilling, which again means 95% of all current tanks to become illegal. If this wasn’t bad enough just consider that the tank will also need to be “tamper-proof”. This means no more drippers, rba or specialist builds. Ecigarettes will also be greatly affected. The law expects all ecigs to provide “the same vapor produced with every use”. Does this mean that ecigs will have one power option only? If this is correct variable voltage devices may be a thing of the past, to allow the device to output the same wattage and ohms with every vape. We all know some eliquids are vaped best at differing power outputs to other eliquids, having one power output only means eliquids will not taste very good if the power cannot be altered to its optimum flavour and vaping point.
Mech mods will also become illegal as controlled circuitry will be compulsory with many safety features included. Manufacturers of ecigs will have to adopt rigorous testing of every new device and wait 6 months before release, impeding new and exciting technology.
Vendors and manufacturers of ecigs will have to bend over backwards when the new law are introduced. Information has come to light showing that eliquid may be put through rigorous testing before able to go on sale the same as ecigarettes. Analysis will be carried out to show the ingredients and contaminants of every eliquid flavour and variable, and any changes to these must be issued 6 months in advance. An analysis of the vapour itself will also be carried out along with the analysis of the liquid itself, giving full evidence that there are no dangerous chemicals produced throughout the whole vaping experience. This itself will be costly, slow, and impede innovation and new products. In future years, flavours available are expected to take a hit although this is not planned for 2016. When flavour limitations come into effect that means most unique and appealing flavours will be made illegal too, for the sole purpose of limiting the appeal to minors. I expect warnings similar to tobacco will come into effect (“Smoking Kills” etc) and a ban on colourful or enticing packaging will also probably be implemented.
Advertising Products Will Be Prohibited
Again this is very hazy. Local shops display their logo and signage on their shop fronts. This is technically advertising the brand. Will shops have to have a plain white sign with no name? I don’t think so. You don’t see a benson and hedges shop in the high street though. Many eliquid vendors share the same company name with the eliquid brand they sell and produce, so this is technically advertising the eliquid just having a shop open to the public. This website for example is another form of eliquid and ecigarette advertisement.
So how restricted will this advertising be? If it matches tobacco then products will have to be hidden behind a screen like cigarettes currently and revealed to you like a magician performing a trick. Will “smoking kills” have to be shown on the label? Even with non-toxic, non-Addictive 0mg juice? Can we show our eliquid flavour on the shelf in full view or will they need covering?
Another thing which springs to mind is the fact that tobacco products need a specific tobacconist license to sell them. There has been no talk about ecigarettes and eliquids needing this license but being classified as tobacco related products it may not be to long before vendor licenses are needed.
We all agree some legislation and regulation will be welcomed. Knowing that your eliquids are pure and tested will be a much welcomed improvement to the vape world. Having the maximum of 20mg nicotine will only affect a small amount of vape users and will mean all eliquid has a low toxic impact which again is a welcomed addition (to most people).
“No advertising” is unclear at the moment but expect this to be insanely restricted eventually. I cannot begin to understand why they think 10ml bottle size and 2ml tank capacity is a good idea, and i’m guessing many of you cannot understand this either.
The road ahead for the small ecig business is dark, with many products they stock soon to be illegal. Expect some eliquid and ecigarette discounts in the next 2 months as shops start to panic and lower prices. Companies like aspire, kanger and eleaf will need to have a complete products overhaul to keep up with EU restrictions potentially damaging the company beyond repair which will mean an end to products we have come to know and love.
I also see a huge shift of sales within the EU over to China, as cloud chasers out there will not hang up there mods and stay lawful. They will search the internet for these illegal devices. These soon to be banned devices will still be legal in countries outside the EU and people should not find it hard to get them, only now they have to order from un-reputable sellers and risk dangerous devices and possible fines if caught. Drugs are illegal but people are still finding those, illegal ecigarettes will be no different. Car boot sales and Markets will be flooded with these devices also, along with people stocking up before laws come into effect. Even though there is information regarding the sale of ecigarettes and eliquids, not much has been said for the user caught with these illegal devices and large bottles of eliquid. Confiscation? Slap on the wrist? Fine? Nothing? Jail?
If you have any extra information regarding the new ecigarettes EU legislation, or have any thoughts or questions, please comment below.