What are the TPD Regulations?

TPD stands for the Tobacco Products Directive, and it will come into full effect in the UK on 20 May 2017 following a 12-month transition period.

The first Tobacco Products Directive from the EU was released in 2001, with the aim of cutting tobacco use across Europe, although this first instance only applied to traditional cigarettes. However in 2014, the directive was altered to include e-cigarettes by classifying them as an additional tobacco-related product.

The new TPD regulations, which were introduced on 20 May 2016, apply new rules specifically to the e-cigarette and vaping industry.

What exactly do the new TPD regulations mean?

The new TPD regulations will introduce several restrictions on the UK’s vaping industry. Up until 20 May 2017, the industry will be in a transition period, but once that day arrives the new rules will be fully enforced.

Products that the regulations won’t affect:

  • E-liquids and e-juices that don’t contain nicotine
  • DIY base liquids that don’t contain nicotine
  • Vaping accessories
  • Batteries for e-cigarettes

Below are just some of the biggest changes that are being introduced by the TDP regulations:

Maximum nicotine strength will be 20mg

Any refill container must not contain nicotine stronger than 20mg per ml. Many consider this a blow to those who are new to vaping and looking to transition from cigarettes, who typically seek a strength of 24mg per ml.

Maximum refill containers must not exceed 10ml

Any nicotine-containing liquid packaged for retail sale must now not exceed 10ml in its own dedicated plastic bottle. This 10ml size limit only applies to dedicated refill containers. For disposable e-cigarettes, cartridges and tanks, the size limit will be 2ml.

As a safer alternative to tobacco, we believe they are really proving to be successful.– Amanda Sandford

Maximum tank capacity will be 2ml

The tank capacity of new e-cigarettes going forward cannot exceed 2ml. Before the TPD regulations came into effect, the typical tank size was 5ml. This will affect those who are used to the larger pieces of hardware.

Liquids must undergo stricter testing

The TPD regulations require that each ingredient undergoes thorough testing. If the returned toxicology does not pass these tests, the ingredient cannot be included in e-liquid recipes. The emissions of all ingredients also undergo testing.

In accordance with the changes introduced in 2016, the following restrictions are to be placed on nicotine-containing liquids in e-cigarettes and refill containers:

Liquids must not contain any additives referenced in Article 6 of the Directive – this includes no vitamins, colourings or prohibited additives found in tobacco products.

Recipes and flavours must only be produced using ingredients of high purity.

There must not be any ingredients (except for nicotine) that pose a risk to human health in either heated or unheated form Must not contain substances other than ingredients notified in the Directive, unless they are present only in trace amounts, as these are technically unavoidable during the manufacturing process.

Advertising of e-cigarettes will be restricted

From May, the advertising of e-cigarettes will be subject to stricter control. The new TPD regulations will prohibit the advertising or promotion, both directly and indirectly, of e-cigarettes and refill containers on television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Sponsorship by e-cigarette manufacturers – of YouTube channels or bloggers, for example – will be more tightly controlled.

Direct forms of advertising, such as mailed leaflets and advertising on public transport, will continue to be allowed.

Other rules under the TPD regulations include…

Products must be fully child and tamper proof.

Packaging must include a health warning that covers 30% of their packaging’s surface with the warning: ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’.

Certain promotional descriptors, particularly those that could be deemed misleading, will be banned from inclusion on e-cigarette packaging

Will the new vaping laws benefit my health?

Ultimately, the new TPD regulations will give a certain level of control to the end user, as they will have confidence that the flavours and recipes have been assembled in a clean room using only passed substances that have been proven to not be safe.

What are the main concerns with the TPD regulations?

Vaping and e-cigarettes provide an alternative to people who are trying to quit smoking for their health. However, stricter regulations and controls, along with any changes to pricing that may follow, could cause those considering vaping to be put off.

Amanda Sandford, Information Manager at ASH, commented on their concerns: “Generally the regulations are proportionate and appropriate in that they discourage young people or non-smokers from using them, but they still enable smokers to make the switch if they want to.

“The greater concern is that people, that is smokers, might be dissuaded from using them when they are more likely to help them quit and that is a concern, because it means they are not making an attempt to stop smoking, and their health will continue to suffer from the effects of smoking.”

What do industry experts have to say about the TPD regulations?

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, said: “Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer, so we want to see many more of the UK’s 10 million smokers break their addiction. Research shows that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco and could help reduce the number of tobacco-related deaths.

“We welcome regulations that aim to improve the safety and consistency of these products and ensure they are not appealing to non-smokers and children. The new European regulations restrict e-cigarette advertising and provide some reassurance to smokers that the products they’re buying are safer than tobacco cigarettes. We are continuing to fund research to monitor the effects of the Tobacco Products Directive to ensure they are achieving the stated objectives and importantly do not restrict access to e-cigarettes for smokers.”

Amanda Sandford, Information Manager at ASH, said: “E-cigarettes have already proved effective in helping people quit smoking. They are widely used by current and past smokers to help get them off tobacco, and there’s very little evidence of them being used by non-smokers, children or anyone who has not already smoked.

“As a safer alternative to tobacco, we believe they are really proving to be successful.”

“We fully support regulations that make it harder for children to get hold of them, so we think it is appropriate that the regulations include a ban on sales of e-cigarettes to under-18s. Similarly with marketing, it’s appropriate to have stricter controls on how they are marketed.”

Until 20th November 2016

  • All e-liquids and products are available as usual
  • Sales to other EU countries are not allowed (without the necessary registrations)
  • No restrictions on non-compliant products

20th November 2016 – 19th May 2017

  • All non-compliant products must be sold or discontinued
  • This includes e-liquids with a nicotine strength over 20mg and tanks larger than 2ml

20th May 2017

  • TPD Regulations are now fully enforced
  • It is now illegal to sell any non-compliant products
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