BREXIT: WHAT COULD IT MEAN
FOR THE VAPING INDUSTRY?
“You’re not the only one quitting. Britain is stubbing itself out of the EU. If you’re blowing clouds, you should probably read this”.
Brexit polling stations had barely closed before Google released an interesting statistic. “What is the EU?” became the second most searched-for term on the UK internet. That’s right. The UK’s decision to leave the EU as per a 52/48% vote has gotten us in a bit of a pickle (and it looks like a fair few of us didn’t know what the words on the jar even meant).
“Deal or no deal” used to bring up Noel Edmonds’ face. Now, it’s more like this: BBC having to churn out a bit of a dummy guide for the zillions of Brits who are so confused by Brexit, they don’t know where to begin. Now that we’re leaving the EU, it’s time to look at how Brexit will affect vaping.
“If your living room shelves have rows of Short Fills as the decor, here’s everything you need to know”.
The reason everyone is even asking about vaping and Brexit in the first place? The big fat rulebook currently governing the vaping industry is literally only applicable to the UK for being an EU member. The TRPR (Tobacco and Related Products Regulations) is the UK’s “implementation of the EU’s TPD”.
If you spent the first half of 2017 stocking up on those large bottle sales, you’ll be familiar with TPD: Tobacco Products Directive. Everything since May 2017 has been dictated by the EU-wide law, which currently means this:
“If we’re leaving the EU, will those TPD laws still apply? Or are we Thank U, Next?”
It’s the question on everyone’s lips. While The Telegraph reports that Brexit may “provide a boost” for the vaping industry, the actual outcome just isn’t known. The hope is that our upcoming EU divorce will open up possibilities for vaping laws to be reviewed (and possibly relaxed).
“From a packaging point of view, it doesn’t make sense to have all these bottles being produced. A 30, 40, or 60ml bottle would be more convenient [for vapers], more convenient for the environment, and cheaper to produce.”
Christian Mulcahy, head of UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA)
Relaxing of vaping laws after Brexit has been discussed in the House of Commons. Steve Brine (talk about that pickle) is The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. He outlined three TRPR areas that will need looking at should No Deal go ahead:
Everyone thinks it’s ridiculous. Need an example? TPD comes with a giant “safety” agenda. Yes, the nicotine warnings and manufacturing site inspections are spot-on. But that e-liquid bottle. You know, the one that can contain nicotine (not something you want to be accidentally swallowing). Throw in the 2ml tank law, and you’re in contact with the bottle way more- it’s called spending your life refilling.
It was when we pictured 100,000 people refilling their tanks every couple of hours that the risk of accidental ingestion seemed….well, higher, to us. Always wash your hands after handling e-liquids and keep them away from children and pets. Also, don’t drink the stuff.
Turns out, we’re not the only ones who think it’s all a bit “nonsensical.” Mark Pawsey, MP pointed out that “e-cigarettes are controlled by the tobacco products regulations, despite there not being any tobacco at all in such products”.
Literally, Mic Drop. Mark wasn’t deliberately shading Big Tobacco as the “most lobbied dossier in EU history”. He was pointing out straight-up facts, like the “arbitrary” bottle and tank size laws that have “no basis to them”.
By and large, it’s still quitting smokers eyeing up the new drop from Dinner Lady. They were looking for an alternative to smoking, found vaping, and the rest is history. Nicotine is the addictive component of smoking. The inclusion of it in vaping is largely considered to be “why it works”.
Christian Mulcahy, whom we’ve already quoted, had something to say on that, too.
“[Quitting smokers] might need 30mg or 40mg. They’re having to use much lower nicotine strength levels which do not meet their requirements, so they need to vape more often than they need to.”
That one actually goes a step further. Super-heavy smokers can actually find themselves ditching vaping and going back to the fags- just because of these limits.
First, they cleared out the Twixes and Twirls from supermarket checkouts. Then our headlines got filled with suggestions of taxes for everything from fizzy drinks to high-salt crisps. The government is making a huge effort to get Brits fit and healthy, but the UKVIA is throwing major side-eye to a suggestion of any “sin tax” on vaping.
Their reasons why a Sin Tax makes no sense:
What it means, overall? The industry forecast overall isn’t too bad. Vaping won’t collapse. If there are new laws, well, we handled TPD all right. If there’s a review of existing ones, expect social media to explode. And no, that isn’t a pun. Your vape doesn’t just explode.
How do you think Brexit may affect the vaping industry? Do you agree that the regulations should be relaxed? Leave your comments below.
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