E-cig Regulations for 2016
E-cig Regulations for 2016 – The Very Latest…
New revisions to the EU Tobacco Products Directive are set to be implemented on the 20th of May, 2016 – which will change the way many people vape across the UK. These new revisions were decided on in 2014, and there has been a lot of discussion about them in the months since.
But now, we’re truly on the threshold of change. A lot of things are going to be different now that these rules are ready to come into force – but what do they mean for the average UK vaper? How will these rules change your E-cig habits? What should you be ready for?
Why are the rules changing?
First of all, let’s talk about why these rules are coming into effect. Basically, the EU Tobacco Products Directive was set up back in 2001. This directive had the goal of reducing tobacco use across Europe among the younger generations – and it did a great job of furthering this cause.
But in 2014, the decision was made to add electronic cigarettes to this directive – which means that E-cigs will, as of May 20th, 2016, be regulated as tobacco-related products.
What choices do E-cig companies have? Will they be able to stay in business?
Unfortunately, these changes may not be good for smaller vaping businesses – because they may make the process of producing and selling electronic cigarettes more complicated. There are now going to be very strict guidelines for how E-cigs can be produced and distributed – and E-cig companies will basically have two different options for making their products compliant.
- 1… Sell E-cigs as tobacco products in compliance with the EU Tobacco Products Initiative, or…
- 2… Sell E-cigs as medical products with licensing from the MHRA
The MHRA (Medicines and Health Care products Regulation Agency) is accepting applications for E-cigs as medical devices. A successful application would result in a licensed product that could be offered and marketed as a healthy alternative to tobacco and an effective cessation method. The only problem is that obtaining such licensing is very expensive – and can cost over £2 million for each different product.
That’s a lot of money – so much so that only big tobacco companies could really hope to be able to afford it. Companies that go this route will also be able to advertise their products more aggressively – which will put the ‘smaller’ E-cig companies at a distinct disadvantage.
It’s clear that E-cigs require some sort of regulation – but this will basically be putting the power back into the hands of big pharma and tobacco companies.
For smaller E-cig companies, it looks like the only option is to sell their products as tobacco related products under the TDP – but doing so will require a lot of changes.
What exactly is going to change?
Here are just a few of the changes that vapers can expect to see as the new regulations take effect.
- The maximum size of E-liquid refill contains is going to change
Many people buy E-liquid containers that are larger than 10ml to save money. But according to these new regulations, the new maximum E-liquid refill container size would become 10ml.
- The maximum nicotine strength of E-liquid is going to change
Some vapers enjoy 24mg E-liquid – but now, any strength beyond 20ml is going to be prohibited. 18ml will probably become the new ‘maximum nicotine level’.
- The maximum size of refill cartridges and tanks is going to change
Under the new revisions, any tanks or refill cartridges capable of holding more than 2ml could be prohibited – which would make it impossible to use a lot of the newer, larger tanks that are currently on the market.
- Electronic cigarettes must now provide a ‘consistent dose’ of nicotine
This rule seems open to interpretation – but it could be very difficult to comply with. At this point, you control how much nicotine you get from your E-cig by inhaling for longer or shorter periods of time – and the dosage isn’t necessarily ‘consistent’ in the sense that you’re getting the exact same amount every time.
- Individual E-cig products may be prohibited on an EU scale if competent authorities believe that they could present a health risk
Under the new regulations, any E-cig product could face an EU ban if 3 member states believe that it presents a health risk.
- Refill containers must be able to refill without causing leaks
This is another rule that’ll depend mostly on interpretation – but it could be very difficult, expensive, or downright impossible to follow, as no refill container currently on the market can absolutely prevent leaks altogether.
- And many more…
These aren’t the only challenges that E-cig users and manufacturers will face under the new revisions. These are just a few of the most obvious initial changes that could impact the industry and the casual usage of the products in-general.
These new rules could manifest themselves in strange ways, and many of them will have far-reaching implications that could prohibit most E-cig products that are currently on the market. Here are just a few examples of how these new rules could impact modern-day vapers.
- Replaceable E-cig heads could be banned
Changing the head of an E-cig atomizer could technically be ‘tampering’ under the new regulations.
- Buying refill bottles containing over 10ml could become a thing of the past
If you’ve always bought 30ml bottles of E-liquid to save money, then you’ll mostly likely find yourself out-of-luck after these new revisions take effect.
- Refillable products might be banned altogether
Since refillable tanks and clearomizers cannot currently be refilled without a chance for E-liquid to leak out, it’s possible that the industry will need to revert back to pre-filled cartridges – which would be much more expensive.
- It’s possible that variable wattage and variable voltage devices could be banned
Depending on how some of the rules are interpreted, VW and VV devices could be prohibited for not providing ‘nicotine doses at consistent levels under normal conditions of use.’
- Obtaining an E-liquid with a nicotine strength over 20mg will now be impossible
Under the new rules, 18mg is likely to become the new ‘max’ nicotine strength.
- It’s possible that product choices and options will get more limited
A lot of these rules have the potential to severely limit product choices. This could hurt the industry and cause some of the smaller companies to go out of business. It could also keep vapers from being able to buy a more diverse range of products.
- E-cigs may end up costing more
Some of these new rules could significantly increase the manufacturing costs of E-cigs and accessories – which would also raise prices for consumers. This could hurt the industry, as it would make E-cigs more difficult to obtain for the average user.
- There could end up being a serious reduction in the number of E-liquid flavours available
Some of the verbiage in the new revisions will require companies to provide detailed ingredient lists – as well as a measurement of the ‘addictiveness’ of the product. Exactly how this would be accomplished, however, is unclear – so the details on how these rules will impact the industry are, at this point, a bit unknown.
It will be interesting to see how some of these regulations are interpreted as we move closer to the deadline for implementation. At this point, we can only hope that the guidelines will be enforced with enough flexibility to allow E-cig companies to continue to do business and in such a way that smaller suppliers and manufacturers won’t be forced to close their doors.
Hopefully, these revisions won’t keep the average vaper from choosing E-cigs over cigarettes either – as severe increases in cost and decreases in product diversity could cripple the industry.
Healthy regulation is a good thing though – so let’s just hope that all of these regulations stay flexible enough to allow E-cig companies to continue to offer safer, healthier, and more cost-effective alternatives for tobacco cigarette users.
Can you do anything to help? YES!
What do you think of all of this? We’d like to hear your thoughts..
To find out more about E-cig regulations, browse the following category: https://ecigsuk.org.uk/category/regulations/