Vaping News

The Future for TPD Enforcement?

As the TPD heads to full implementation, how will it be enforced?

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In the build up to the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) many vapers were stating how they intended to ignore its stipulations for nicotine and tank size. It is unsurprising given how the steady prices rises in traditional tobacco drove an acceptance of its illicit black market.

In considering how the vaping community will respond to the TPD it seem reasonable to look at the activities involved in the illicit tobacco trade. The clear implication from social media is that advanced electronic cigarette users will source where they can in order to circumvent a law restricting them to expensive 10ml juice bottles, a limit to the nicotine strength they can buy and idiotically small 2ml atomiser tanks.

Over the last ten years it has been estimated that illicit cigarettes compromise between 10-20% of all those smoked, and 39-63% of all hand-rolling pouches. Meanwhile the government warns that “illegal, or illicit, tobacco is smuggled, bootlegged or counterfeit, sold cheaply and tax-free and often linked to large-scale organised crime.” Just in case you aren’t worried enough, they repeat in bold: “...and the proceeds fund serious and organised crime.” And so, presumably to stop this dubious claim of funding crime, the government offer up ways of reporting those providing cheaper smokes to the masses.

It will be interesting to see how long before similar claims are made about illicit importation of vaping paraphernalia. High on the list will be nicotine base – something that could easily carry the tag of being illegally manufactured and suspected of lax standards. Aside from that it will be the mods and atomisers that will come from countries with a more enlightened approach to their manufacture.

Whereas it is theoretically possible to blame tobacco companies for over-supply in other regions – leading to the illicit importation into the UK – not one has faced the prospect of a £5 million fine and only one has received a warning letter since 2000. It is impossible to see how the UK enforcement agencies can clamp down on the importation of vaping equipment from China while Trading Standards would need to be able to identify what an atomiser is before being able to seize stock. They are probably getting Springer spaniels to identify the smell of a Kayfun at this very moment.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards carried out Operation Henry this week. They raided eight separate premises, finding just over £1,000’s worth of stock in each. Likewise, a raid in County Durham obtained tobacco worth about £1,500. Once the cost of the raids are taken into consideration, and the low value of items confiscated can anybody imagine them doing something similar for twenty £10 RDAs?

Do you believe the TPD is enforceable? Do you plan to source your products outside the UK?

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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