The use of e-cigarettes as a quit smoking aid has rapidly gained traction as users see it as a safer alternative to smoking. In a recent report carried out by Ernst and Young, 2.2 million Brits are now vaping, a rise of 55% in just three years.
But, despite its popularity and Public Health England claiming that is it 95% less harmful than smoking, controversy surrounding the use of ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) continues to rage. Many still believe that is it no less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco products, and governments are experiencing a huge tax shortfall with so many people turning away from lucrative tobacco.
Controversy aside, this new and emerging market is now subject to strict EU legislation aimed “…at harmonising the quality and safety requirements of the products for the benefit of consumers. In addition, rules on packaging and labelling will ensure that consumers are better informed."
The Tobacco Products Directive, which became law in May 2016 and gave suppliers a year to fully comply, is now in full force. And comes nearly two years after the government placed age restrictions on the purchase of e-cigarettes. This new directive requires all cigarette and tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging and limits of the size of cigarettes and tobacco packages, in an attempt to make it less attractive to young smokers. But the TPD also places several additional restrictions on vaping and e-cigarettes.
The maximum nicotine capacity of liquid is now 20mg, down from 24mg previously. As well as restrictions on flavours and size of refill bottles and tanks (10ml and 2ml respectively). Restrictions on advertising similar to those placed on traditional tobacco products are also in force, as well as a complete ban on celebrity endorsements.
There are also stricter controls on the innovation of new products, with manufacturers required to notify government bodies about new products six months before they are launched.
Whether or not the restrictions contained in the TPD will slow down the growth of the vaping market remains to be seen, but many people see legislation of this innovative and emerging industry as a necessary and welcome defence in the battle against nicotine addiction.