WHAT IS TPD
TPD stands for Tobacco Products Directive (Tobacco Products Directive 2014/14/EU (TPD), an initiative created by the EU to regulate tobacco products, how they are advertised and how they can be sold to consumers. The principle behind it is to increase the health protection and awareness surrounding tobacco products. TPD covers every aspect of tobacco production and retail from their manufacture, where they can be sold, how they can be displayed, what their packaging looks like and how they are sold.
It applies to all tobacco products including rolling tobacco, cigarettes, cigars as well as vaping tech and e-liquids. The regulations ensure ingredients are tested before they are sold to consumers and must be displayed on the packaging. TPD also applies to where people can use tobacco products and regulate how they are taxed.
WHY DOES IT APPLY TO THE VAPING INDUSTRY?
Vaping products are still classified as tobacco products, even though they do not contain tobacco leaf itself. The reason for this is that much of the nicotine that is used in e-liquid is distilled from the tobacco plant as it contains the highest concentration in any plant. There are now synthetic forms of nicotine as well but any product containing nicotine still falls under TPD regulations.
WHEN DID TPD REGULATIONS COME INTO EFFECT?
The TPD was established in May 2014 and became law on the 20th of May 2016. What this meant for vaping retailers was that any remaining non-compliant stock had to be sold before this date. As a result, some brands that were previously available may no longer be on shelves and the way in which e-liquid is sold has changed.
THE KEY RULES OF THE TPD INCLUDE:
- Product characteristics:New products must comply with requirements relating to their design. These include the size of bottle (max. 10 ml), tank size (max. 2 ml), child-resistant/tamper-evident packaging and refill mechanism technical rules.
- Notification: Product information – for example, product characteristics, formulation/toxicology, and emissions – must be submitted to the MHRA via the EU-CEG portal prior to product launch.
- Packaging and labelling: There are new rules about packaging. For example, a health warning must appear on the label, and certain warnings and precautions must appear in the leaflet. Each EU member state health warning which must be in its native language.
- Classification of labelling and packaging rules (CLP):With e-liquids, there are rules on the labelling of mixtures that are separate and pre-date the new vape laws. These include the requirement for an exclamation mark or skull and crossbones pictogram, and precautionary statements.
- Producer registration:Companies must register with the authorities (where applicable) to sell directly to customers via the Internet.
WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF TPD LAWS?
The TPD aims to:
- Update and harmonize legislation for the control of tobacco and establish a regulatory framework for related products.
- Reduce smoking by preventing tobacco products from using ingredients or presentation that encourage young people to take it up.
- Fight illicit trade by introducing an EU-wide tracking and tracing system for the legal supply chain, and a security feature that combines both visible and invisible elements.
- Establish a regulatory environment for e-cigs and e-liquids to make sure they meet safety and marketing standards.
IS TPD A LEGAL REQUIRMENT?
Yes – with exceptions. E-liquids only need to comply with the rules of the TPD if they contain nicotine. For devices, things are a little more complicated. All devices fall within scope of the TPD – however, not all a device’s components need to be notified. Components that are unique to e-cigarettes (like tanks) need to be notified, but generic parts like batteries (‘mods’) don’t.
ARE THERE ANY TPD LOOPHOLES?
There are several TPD loopholes that are commonly exploited.
Shortfills (‘shake and vape’)
1) An e-liquid only needs to comply with TPD if it contains nicotine. The TPD only applies to nicotine-containing e-liquids. To get around this rule some manufacturers have launched a range of ‘short-fills’ or ‘shake and vape’ products.
Short-fills are nicotine-free refills typically sold in 100ml bottles. They are under-filled by the manufacturer so customers can fill the bottle up with nicotine-containing e-liquid after they have bought it.
A consumer can purchase the short-fill together with a nicotine-only (no flavour) e-liquid (a ‘nic shot’) and combine the two to make a nicotine e-liquid refill.
Because shortfills do not contain nicotine, TPD rules do not apply. This means manufacturers can avoid things like restrictions on bottle size and notification requirements.
2) Manufacturers can sell a tube together with a TPD compliant tank. The TPD restricts tank size to 2ml. Some device manufacturers sidestep this rule by including a tube in the kit, which can be assembled with other parts to form a tank larger than 2ml. The fact the tube is not a tank means it does not need to comply with the TPD size restriction.
LIST OF THE REGULATIONS THAT EFFECT VAPING!
- E-cigarette tanks including pod systems can now only contain a max of 2ml of e-liquid.
- The maximum bottle size of e-liquid containing nicotine is 10ml.
- The highest strength nicotine e-liquid you can get is 20mg (that’s 20mg/per ml of e-liquid).
- All nicotine bottles (10ml) containing e-liquid must be child resistant.
- Products cannot contain caffeine or taurine.
- Packaging must indicate that the product contains nicotine and advertise clearly that the fact is that nicotine is a highly addictive chemical.
- All e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be submitted to MHRA for approval before they can be sold.