Does Your E Cig and Your E Juice Follow TPD Rules?
What Do You Need To Know About The TPD?
The TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) is an EU-wide directive that governs the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes. Initially, such rules and regulations were aimed at the tobacco industry, not the vaping industry. It irritates the vaping industry that e-cigarettes have been included, let alone under the banner of a tobacco directive, given that they are nothing alike!
That said, rules are rules, and while these radical new rules will and, in some cases, already be affecting anyone designing, producing and selling e-cigarettes, components and e-liquids, there should be little impact on the vaping community.
Here’s more information about the TPD rules and regulations, who and what they impact, and when these changes will be in full force.
A Timetable of Changes
From 20th May 2016, all new products manufacturers wanted to release for sale needed to be tested (according to TDP-specific standards), and the relevant regulatory body had to be made aware of the ins and outs of the new product.
From the 20th November 2016, retailers wanting to continue selling products after the May 20th 2017, deadline will need to have these products tested (according to TPD-specific standards), and again the regulatory body will need to be informed.
After 20th May 2017, all vaping-related products that fall under the regulations must have been tested and registered with the relevant regulatory body. This includes any products sold before these new regulations came into effect.
Understanding the Purpose and Scope of the Tobacco Products Directive
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a legislative framework implemented by the European Union (EU) to regulate the production, presentation, and sale of tobacco and related products. Adopted in 2014, the TPD has been designed to safeguard public health, ensure product safety, and promote informed consumer choices. This directive addresses the significant health risks associated with tobacco use and aims to harmonise regulations across EU member states.
The primary purpose of the TPD is to reduce smoking prevalence and prevent young people from starting smoking. It achieves this by implementing various measures such as health warnings on packaging, restrictions on advertising and promotion, and setting maximum nicotine levels in electronic cigarettes. By imposing these regulations, the TPD aims to discourage smoking initiation, promote smoking cessation, and protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
The scope of the TPD encompasses a wide range of tobacco and related products. It covers cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and novel tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco. The TPD also includes herbal products for smoking, which falls under its regulatory framework. The directive ensures all forms of tobacco consumption are subject to appropriate regulations.
Furthermore, the TPD outlines specific requirements for product labelling and packaging. Cigarette packages, for instance, must display graphic health warnings covering at least 65% of the front and back surfaces. This measure intends to increase awareness of the adverse health effects of smoking and discourage potential smokers. Additionally, the TPD prohibits misleading labelling, such as "light" or "mild," which could mislead consumers into believing that certain tobacco products are less harmful.
Key Provisions of the Tobacco Products Directive Explained: What TPD Means for Customers
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a comprehensive legislation enacted by the European Union (EU) to regulate the manufacturing, presentation, and sale of tobacco products. The TPD aims to improve public health by reducing tobacco-related harm and ensuring consumer protection. Here, we delve into the key provisions of the TPD and examine what they mean for customers.
Health Warnings and Packaging:
Under the TPD, tobacco products must carry prominent graphic health warnings covering a significant portion of the packaging. This measure aims to enhance public awareness of the risks associated with smoking and discourage potential customers, especially young people, from initiating tobacco use.
The TPD requires tobacco manufacturers to disclose the ingredients used in their products. This provision empowers customers to make informed choices and better understand their tobacco products' contents and potential health risks.
Nicotine and E-Liquids:
The TPD sets maximum nicotine levels for e-cigarettes and refills containers to ensure product safety. This provision safeguards customers by reducing the risk of nicotine addiction and other associated health issues. Additionally, e-liquids are subject to stricter regulations, including child-resistant packaging and ingredient restrictions.
The TPD restricts cross-border sales of tobacco products. Customers can only purchase products from countries that have implemented the TPD regulations. This provision helps prevent the influx of potentially unsafe or counterfeit tobacco products, ensuring customers can access reliable and regulated products.
The Impact of the Tobacco Products Directive on E-Cigarettes and Vaping
While primarily targeting traditional tobacco products, the TPD addresses the emerging market of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vaping devices.
Product Quality and Safety:
One of the main objectives of the TPD is to ensure the safety and quality of e-cigarettes and vaping products. Manufacturers are required to adhere to strict quality standards, including guidelines on ingredients, nicotine concentration limits, and child-resistant packaging. The TPD aims to minimise potential health risks associated with substandard or unsafe products by imposing these regulations.
Notification and Authorisation:
Under the TPD, e-cigarette and vaping product manufacturers must submit a notification to the relevant regulatory authority in their respective EU member states. This notification includes detailed information about the product, its ingredients, emissions, and toxicology data. Additionally, certain products, such as those containing nicotine, may require pre-market authorisation. These measures help ensure that only safe and regulated products are available.
Advertising and Promotion Restrictions:
The TPD imposes strict limitations on advertising and promoting e-cigarettes and vaping products. Advertising is prohibited in media channels primarily targeting minors and misleading claims about health benefits are strictly prohibited. By restricting advertising, the TPD aims to prevent the potential normalisation and appeal of vaping among young people.
Packaging and Labeling Requirements:
The TPD mandates standardised packaging and labelling for e-cigarettes and vaping products. Packages must display health warnings and information about nicotine content. Furthermore, the packaging must be tamper-evident and child-resistant to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion by children. These requirements aim to enhance consumer awareness and minimise the potential harm caused by inappropriate use or accidental exposure.
Cross-Border Sales and Online Retailing:
The TPD regulates cross-border sales and online retailing of e-cigarettes and vaping products within the EU. Retailers must comply with the regulations of the member state to which they are selling, ensuring consistency in safety standards across borders. These measures aim to prevent the easy availability of unregulated products and promote consumer safety.
Cross-Border Sales and Online Purchases under the TPD
While the TPD primarily focuses on tobacco-related regulations, it also affects cross-border sales and online purchases. This section aims to delve into the details of how the TPD affects online purchases in the context of cross-border sales.
Age Verification and Sales Restrictions:
One of the key aspects of the TPD affecting online purchases is the emphasis on age verification and sales restrictions. Online retailers must implement robust age verification systems to ensure that tobacco products are not sold to individuals below the legal age. This includes using reliable age verification mechanisms, such as electronic identification or face-to-face delivery upon age verification.
Packaging and Labeling Requirements:
The TPD mandates specific packaging and labelling requirements for tobacco products. These regulations aim to discourage misleading advertising and promote public health awareness. Regarding online purchases, retailers must comply with these packaging and labelling rules, ensuring that the images and descriptions accurately reflect the product sold. Furthermore, health warnings and other required information must be visible on the packaging and remain unobscured during online purchases.
Cross-Border Sales and Distance Selling:
Cross-border sales of tobacco products have faced increased scrutiny under the TPD. Online retailers engaged in cross-border sales must adhere to the regulations of both the exporting and importing countries. This can involve complying with different packaging and labelling requirements and navigating varying tax structures and licensing obligations. The TPD seeks to harmonise these regulations across EU member states, facilitating fair competition and consumer protection.
Reporting Obligations and Notification Systems:
Under the TPD, online retailers engaging in cross-border sales are subject to reporting obligations and notification systems. Retailers must notify the competent authorities of the member state where they operate, providing information on the products they sell, sales volumes, and marketing strategies. These requirements ensure transparency and enable regulatory bodies to monitor the market effectively.
Enforcement and Penalties:
The TPD establishes enforcement mechanisms and penalties for non-compliance. Online retailers failing to adhere to the TPD regulations may face fines, product seizures, or even suspension of their online sales activities. Member states monitor and enforces these regulations, aiming to create a level playing field and protect public health across borders.
How Do TPD Regulations Affect Vapers?
The TPD, in its entirety, is quite the document, so we’ve broken it down to show you the key points in terms of what it means to you, those who vape.
Size Limits on E Liquids/E Juice
Previously, it was possible to buy your favourite nicotine containing e-liquids in bigger packages; however, consumers are now limited to bottles containing at most 10ml.
While, in theory, it costs more to buy several smaller bottles than one big one costs, most retailers are absorbing the increased cost themselves or helping customers out by holding offers, sales and more.
No more super-sized tanks. The limit on new tank sizes is 2ml. Smaller tanks being mandatory means that vapers, particularly heavy vapers, have to refill more often.
Nicotine Level Limits
You cannot buy e-liquids with over 2% or 20mg/ml of nicotine. At face value, this could have been disastrous for heavier smokers and those who appreciated a nicotine-heavy vape. Thankfully, newer devices are already finding ways to amplify nicotine effectiveness despite less of it.
You’ll love this. All e-juices are now required to come with warning labels. It can be hard to find labels, meaning e liquids must be boxed (or have sufficient space on the bottle labeling using peel and reveal labels). On the upside, these boxes should be thrown in your recycling box.
New Product Restrictions
Manufacturers and retailers must wait six months before selling new products unless the MHRA clears new products quicker. While this doesn’t affect any current products, it does slow the introduction of new e-liquid flavours and more.
Under the new regs e, liquids must be tested for emissions. Many retailers worried about cost, but it hasn’t worked out quite as feared. Any reputable manufacturer or retailer will be dedicated to offering high-quality e-liquids. So despite the odd grumble, most won’t have a problem with this new rule.
Is My E-Liquid Ok?
If you want to know if the e-liquids you buy meet the TPD standards, check the following:
- Your e-liquid (that contains nicotine) will come in a vial/bottle containing at most 10ml of e-liquid.
- Your bottle/vial will come in a box or use peel and reveal labels.
- The product will come with a warning leaflet.
- Your e-liquid nozzle measures a minimum of 1cm and releases less than 20 drops per 60 sections.
- All liquids will have a standard warning label.
- All e-liquids should have an ECID (European Community Identification Number).
Is My Tank OK?
As mentioned above, tanks are included in the TPD regulations, and so to ensure your tank meets the rules check that:
- Your tank holds up to 2ml of e-liquid.
- That comes with the standard warning.
- Your tank has an ECID number and is registered, as with e-liquids, on the MHRA website.
If you need to double-check, look up the e-cigarette pages on the main MHRA website and the Excel records under Submitted Products. It can be a slog; however, if the e-liquid or e-cigarette tank you have is registered with the MHRA, it should be there.
Checking Batteries and Mods
Thankfully, there are no restrictions or legislation changes to report when considering batteries and mods, so you’re good to go. Use these carefully per manufacturer instructions, and opt for quality and affordability.
Many products have already been altered or redesigned to comply with TPD rules. Some will disappear, but vapers must remember that brand-new e-liquids must wait six months for MHRA approval.
Will I Be Harmed by Using Products That Aren’t TPD Compliant?
Unlikely! The products that were fine before are still the same now. You may be waiting for old favourites to be re-released with fresh new labelling, etc., but what you have in stock at home is ok to use still. On the other hand, buying e liquids and tanks now that aren’t TDP compliant means that you are buying from a retailer who isn’t following the rules.
We suggest always choosing products from a reputable retailer as they will follow the rules, have compliant products, and are keen to ensure they offer best practices in all areas and that you receive the best service.
What Product Testing Needs to Be Done?
Those working in the manufacturing or retail aspect of the vaping industry do already strive to ensure that the e-liquids and products they handle are of the highest quality. The issue many within the industry has is the fact that testing all e liquids and all components that fall under the regulations takes a lot of time and money and, in some cases, will lead to a reduction in the number of products a retailer will be able to carry while awaiting all product testing to be concluded.
The manufacturers will need to test for emissions (analysis of the vapour released to test for safety and quality), nicotine content delivered via each draw/puff of vapour (for consistency and, of course, to ensure e liquids adhere to new maximum nicotine level rules) and will need to assess the e-liquid ingredients/content themselves to ensure nothing harmful is included.
Thanks to the TDP regulations. Vaping advertising is almost nearing a halt. While media advertising has hardly been prolific, thanks to previous regulations, it will more or less disappear shortly. Direct mail (printed advertising, i.e. leaflets), billboards and advertising on public transport will continue to be allowed.
What Items Are the TPD Focused On?
The regulations concerning testing and registration include these vaping products:
- All tanks and all coils
- Any starter kits which include a tank
- All DIY base liquids (PG/VG bases) that contain nicotine in any quantity
- E-liquids / e-juices*
Despite these new regulations, the TPD still needs to remit regarding e-cigarette batteries. No changes to rules and regulations regarding these components are being introduced (lithium batteries already have to adhere to strict safety guidelines).
Products the TDP are Not Regulating
- E liquids / e-juices with no nicotine content
- Any DIY bases (PG/VG) which contain no nicotine
- Mods (unless sold in a kit with a tank)
- Accessories related to vaping
- Any of the batteries used to power your e-cigarette.
Rules and Regulations for Specific Products
Many TDP regulations concern what retailers are and are not allowed to sell.
- Glass droppers for e-liquids are no longer allowed
- Tanks which have a capacity of over 2ml (including RTAs) are banned
- Bottles of e-liquids must not exceed 10ml in volume (so any larger bottles)
- E liquids must not contain more than 20mg/ml of liquid*
*This one may well affect heavier vapers who are used to choosing 24mg or even 36mg strengths. The advice for dealing with this is to either:
- Consider a sub-ohm device which naturally amplifies the effect of nicotine (which is why when sub-ohm vaping, vapers choose lower than usual nicotine strengths to achieve the same or similar effects),
- Move down to a lesser strength (gradually) before the regulations come into full force.
Thoughts on TPD
Many have damned these TPD regulations are largely unnecessary and highly detrimental to the industry. Rules are, however, rules, and despite these strict new rules, reputable retailers will be working as hard as ever to ensure that vapers have a wide range of high-quality e-liquids, components, kits and more to choose from to ensure that they may enjoy their vaping hobby without any disruption.
Image Source: pexels.com/photo/man-holding-cigarette-2389130/