In an industry survey of more than 1000 vapers and e cigarette users a staggering 89% said that their decision in the EU referendum would be influenced by the regulations the EU has introduced on electronic cigarettes in the Tobacco Products Directive, and 77% were concerned about possible EU plans to introduce a tax on e-cigs.
Previously vapers have managed to rally to the cause and stop some damaging legislation from being passed, most notably the EU’s attempt to classify e cigarettes as medical devices, and with the numbers quoted in the infographic above there is a lot of voting power behind the UK’s 2.5million vapers and a great many will be voting in a way they believe will keep their best interests protected.
But will their EU referendum votes actually affect the Tobacco Products Directive?
At this point in time the TPD is already in effect, and has been since the 21st of May 2016, as such there isn’t a great deal that leaving the EU can change in the implementation which will be taking place over the next year and six months. There will still be a 2ml limit on atomiser tank size, there will still be a 10ml limit to the size of e-liquid bottles and there will still be a limit of 20mg or 2% of nicotine.
This is compounded by the fact that the UK is still a member of the EU and will be until such time as the government triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the process of leaving begins. So far no firm date has been given for when this will occur.
What Can We Expect From The E Cigarette Industry?
The E Cigarette Industry is unlikely to change much beyond the provisions of the TPD that are already known.
What we won’t see is a rise in prices for devices and e-liquids made in the UK, but there most likely will be an increase in cost for devices and e-liquids made outside the UK and the EU, especially any product that is traded in US Dollars, so anything from America or China will probably cost a little more to reflect the weakening of the pound against the dollar (which analysts suggest will stabilise soon enough, but for now at least the pound is the weakest it has been since 1985).
Many manufacturers of E-Liquids and e cigarettes have recently set up offices and factories within the EU in order to make TPD compliance much easier for themselves and their customers, but we will still see this price increase occuring with the pound as weak as it currently is.
Will The TPD Be Changed in the Future?
At the moment there are no official plans in government to challenge, change or completely ignore the TPD as it currently exists, beyond a movement started in the House of Lords to reconsider Article 20 and the regulations relating to e cigarettes which has received much backing from vapers across the country, but so far has come to nothing in an official sense.
At the time of writing there are ongoing consultations and clarification of what the wording of certain sections of the TPD actually mean, though.
The main hope of the pro-vaping camp is that the implementation of the TPD in the UK will be more ‘relaxed’ than usual, with one minister being quoted as saying “…that [hopefully] enforcement will be more Italian than traditionally British.”
As it stands the TPD will be implemented over the next year as it was written, the Brexit will not change that, but there is a chance that its interpretation will change for the better as discussions continue and some of the apparently more arbitrary regulations like the tank and bottle sizes will be relaxed or changed while keeping the standards of quality and responsibility that the TPD is ensuring within the industry.
Do you think Britain leaving the EU will affect the Tobacco Products Directive?
Let us know in the comments below.