Over the past 6 months, the UK Vaping industry, from manufacturers of hardware and e-liquids, to retailers and end-users, has been trying to assess the level of impact the latest extension to the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is going to have. 

Wishful Thinking?
The original directive was created to control the manufacture, presentation and promotion of traditional tobacco cigarettes, safeguarding the consumer from their harmful effects and reducing the likelihood of young people adopting the habit.

As of May 20th 2016, the same piece of legislation was extended to cover the electronic cigarette industry too. Whereas many people within the industry see e cigarettes as a safer and exciting alternative to traditional smoking, the governing bodies have treaded far more cautiously. The aim of the latest extension is to ensure the e cigarette industry is subject to the same rigorous governance of manufacturing practices and promotion, protecting consumers whilst this exciting new market continues to develop.

As a result, all components of this fledgling industry have had to make substantial investments to ensure their products meet the latest criteria. So it’s no wonder that, in the aftermath of last week’s Brexit vote, the UK Vaping industry has been awash with one simple question – will the TPD still apply to UK?

Looking to the Future
Given that the act has now been implemented as full UK legislation, and we are still officially part of Europe until Article 50 has been fulfilled, the TPD will remain applicable.

If the government were to decide to review the legislation, for whatever reason, the UK would need to develop its own laws to govern the industry. With the current financial and political uncertainty, it looks like this is not going to be a priority for our country.

With that in mind, it does appear the TPD is here to stay – almost certainly for the next two years at the very least.

And Once Brexit is Confirmed?
In the longer term, once the UK steps outside of European legislative control, the government could have the ability to review the TPD, if it so desired. But again, this step is unlikely, as doing so would mean investing in the development and implementation of a suitable new law to replace it.

Furthermore, the UK’s ability to trade freely within the European market after Brexit will mean our legislation governing e cigarette products has to be compatible with that of the broader European market. Therefore, the most likely amendments to be made to the TPD are the addition of more specific clauses relating to such things as how brands can communicate with their target audience, and the presentation of information on packaging.

What The Future Holds
So, whilst politicians across the continent are hopefully negotiating a diplomatic framework for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, it looks as though the TPD is likely to remain the legislative basis for our beloved Vaping industry.

When all is said and done, a vibrant and fast-paced industry like ours can change without warning. I guess there is one thing I can say for certain, this industry is definitely still in it’s infancy, and there is bound to be many more challenges for us to face along the way.

So for the meantime, its sleeves rolled up, heads down, and lets continue creating more choice for the consumer and improving the everyday Vaping experience!