The TPD -  What Is It and How Will It Affect Me? 

On 20th May the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) officially comes into place amidst a mountain of controversy and debate. A lot of you will have heard of this, some of you may not have. You may have been avoiding all of the noise around the TPD, assuming it’s more boring politics that will have no impact on you – this is not the case.

However, we also know that nobody really wants to sit down and read through a mountain of documents to figure out what is going on with it, so with that in mind, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ll tell you exactly what the TPD is and how it’s going to impact you.

What is the TPD?

The TPD has been around in one form or another for a long time, laying down regulations on the sale of tobacco products. In 2014, however, the rise of vaping resulted in the EU making the decision to increase the scope of the legislation to include e-cigarettes

As a result of this, a wide range of new laws regarding e-cigs are coming into place revolving around product and advertising restrictions. The law becomes active from the 20th May, after which all new products will have to adhere to it.

Vaping businesses will have a grace period of a year to sell through stock which is not compliant but after 20th May 2017 anything which doesn’t meet these standards will be banned from sale.

What will the new rules be?

10ml bottle size limit on e-liquid: all e-liquid bottles will now be limited to a maximum capacity of 10ml. So if you’re the type of person who likes to buy large bottles so you’ve always got some handy and can benefit from a cheaper per ml price you’re out of luck. Standard 10ml only from now on.

Maximum 2ml tank capacity: The TPD will also limit tanks to a maximum size of 2ml. Those big tanks you like to keep around so you don’t have to refill during the day? They’ll no longer be sold once the TPD is in full effect.

20mg nicotine strength limit: The heaviest smokers will sometimes need higher nicotine strength liquid when they start vaping. Unfortunately, this will no longer be allowed under TPD, with a 20mg limit now in place. In reality this will probably be more like an 18mg limit, as nobody will want to risk being slightly over and have the line shot down.

Leak-free refilling: The EU would also like to ensure that there is no risk of e-liquid spillage. As such, tanks will be required to have a mechanism to ensure leak-free refilling. So you can expect to see tanks change an awful lot and the current style potentially being phased out of sale, depending on how this is enforced.

New product notifications: Starting 20th May, any new product release must be preceded by a notification to the MHRA. This notification must be six months in advance of the product launch, with registration fees also being required for each product. Each strength of e-liquid counts as one product, so four strengths equals four notifications. So you should prepare yourself for a slowdown in new product launches, e-liquid ranges being cut back, and small businesses potentially ceasing trading. There is also the potential for prices to increase as businesses look to offset these costs.

Three country ban clause: There is also a clause in the TPD which allows the EU to put a blanket ban on any product which three member states have banned. So if Spain, Italy and Greece, for example, decide to ban your favourite device, the EU could potentially enact this clause and ban it in all member states.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what will happen when TPD comes into effect, we’ve tried to cut it down to the main things that will impact you. 

One positive to come out of this has been the positive stance the UK government has on vaping. Key figures have paid attention to the evidence and noted the massive harm-reduction potential in vaping, meaning we have a very light-touch, liberal version of TPD.