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The Tobacco Products Directive Consultation Response

The government publishes its findings to the TPD consultation period

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We now have clear answers for some questions regarding how Article 20 of the TPD will be implemented. Unfortunately, we are also left with a fuzzy picture of other aspects. Some are declaring this a success, stating it is a triumph of light-touch regulation, while others fear the devil will be in the detail when definitions are ironed out.

Despite the efforts made on this website and by vaping advocates, only 709 responses were made to the government. Of that just 536 members of the public made their feelings known – from a UK vaping population of 2.6 million. It is a feeble effort from people who are set to be the ones to feel its full impact and has unfortunately left some declaring that vapers deserve anything coming their way.

POTV forum member fergie1690 summed up a vaper’s perspective when he asked: “Will we still be able to buy box mods? Will we still be able to buy Subtanks? Will we still be able to get the coils for them? Could we still order all above from China? Will we still be able to buy nicotine?” The call for clarification is understandable given that the document runs to 102 pages.

The government noted that vapers were very unified in pointing out that they should bear in mind the harm-reduction potential of vaping and that Public Health England have declared vaping 95% safer than smoking. There was a strong response that the TPD was wrong for electronic cigarettes, as they are not tobacco products. Oddly, the paper claims we also asked for non-nicotine products to be included – and warned the government that by not doing so it would open up a black market for nicotine base. It is a struggle to accept that this was the case – especially considering they note: “the majority appeared to support fewer restrictions on e-cigarettes.”

Ecigintelligence stated they believe the plans “suggest a light touch approach”. They point out: “that ‘low, smaller sellers are likely to be more affected than larger ones by the proposed fees’,” but believe “in those areas where the UK government has had a genuine decision to make, the industry should find little to complain about.”

Everything Liquid, a wholesaler of vaping products and supplier of The Captain’s Reserve brand, were positively ebullient on their Facebook page: “The government has responded to the upcoming TPD and we couldn't be happier with the results.” For them, the key points are:

  • The MHRA propose to charge £220 for a new notification, £110 for a modification and an annual service charge of £60. Our original estimate was around £5000!
  • Companies will have until May 2017 to sell non-compliant stock as per the option in the TPD.
  • Non-nicotine e-cigarettes will not be covered despite a number of stakeholders suggesting that they should be.
  • Cross border distance sales - the government will regulate, rather than ban, these kinds of sales. Businesses selling in the UK will need to demonstrate that they use electronic age verification.
  • The warning will not be the longer text provided for in TPD, but the shorter form of words, "This product contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance".

Where we remain unclear is with Gen 3 regulated and mechanical mods. As one enterprising vendor has demonstrated in a video, they originated as adapted torch parts and can be equally depicted as such in the future. Likewise, atomisers come in a range of styles and the wording appears to be targeted at prefilled tanks and cartridges – the status of the rest remains in need of clarification.

While some appear to believe that nicotine base will still be available (and in bulk quantities) other argue that it will be restricted along with premade juices. When an official announcement is made making things plainer for vapers we will bring it to you.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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