Despite our best efforts, online petitions, various positive ecig stories from within our own health departments and an attempt at reversal by the House of Lords, the Tobacco Products Directive has passed and is slowly rolling into the juggernaut of destruction for the industry, as we had feared at its inception. This month sees the true implementation upon the industry. From a consumer point of view, it may appear business as usual; mark my words, from the end of November onwards, the consumer too will see the effects of TPD for themselves. For now, the real change is upon vendors and manufacturers. From Nov 20th all stock will either need to be TPD compliant or have been made before this date. It will technically be illegal to sell non compliant stock after Nov 20th if the product was made on or after that date. All old stock made before Nov 20th is legal until May 2017 for all vendors, be that on the high-street or online stores.
What does compliant juice mean? Well, the TPD is clear on this, all pre-mixed juice containing nicotine must be only sold in 10ml plastic (glass is no longer prohibited) bottles. It must have clear labels marking it as a product that contains nicotine with cigarette style warnings on a white box warning of nicotine's addictive nature. Additional information about use of the product, ingredients of the eliquid and proof of its lab testing submission should also be on the product or on a leaflet supplied when purchased. Due to the costs for submission companies will have to pay to appease the MHRA (on average £3000 per flavour, per nicotine strength), the costs of all the extra packaging and leaflet printing required will likely see the price at retail much higher then standard 10ml juice does now. Whether made in UK, USA or China, all juice with nicotine must meet these regulations to be sold legally within the EU.
Where does that leave Tokenvape? I will presume, if you're reading this you are either a fan of Tokenvape or would at least like to see us continue on past November 2016. These regulations are not new information to a lot of us. I knew this was coming and had been pre-warned of their implementation. As a result I've tried to get help with TPD where possible. Sadly, the costs are unworkable. My company, whilst more successful than I ever imagined, is still very small and incomes made are modest. I do not have the money to meet the £3k per flavour per strength demands. I do not, currently, even have the money to have just one flavour passed.
When I explored my options several came to mind. I do not see this spoken about very much on other vape sources, so I feel I should mention it here. There are companies out there trying to milk vape companies dry for everything they have to help them meet TPD compliance. I will not mention names, but rest assured more than one company suggested I hand over everything I have to them to make my products meet TPD regulation. Gleefully, they announced they would make my product for me, bottle my product, repackage my product, even send it out to wholesale customers for me! Leaving me with literally nothing to do and no control over anything I'd worked years to build. Not only would this leave me with no control over anything, I would have to pay them vast sums for the privilege. It would put my chemist and friend Mick, the man with whom I could not have even started Tokenvape, out of a job. And for what? To meet some ridiculous regulations decided miles away in Brussels as a knee jerk reaction to protecting big tobacco and big pharma profit margins.
Who is the TPD for? What does it protect? Who benefits from its implementation? The government will sell this to you as protecting you, dear reader. "We are doing this for your own good! To appease your concerns over public health." See one of the main (and most costly) aspects of TPD is testing eliquids to identify 'potentially unsafe ingredients'. This statement sounds great on a surface level, sure, no-one wants unsafe ingredients in their eliquids. The trouble is of course, there is no scientific, peer reviewed and agreed list of unsafe (potentially or otherwise) ingredients for eliquids to begin with. It is, essentially, meaningless regulation at best and an outright mafia style racket at worst. £3000 per flavour, per nicotine strength to identify something without any scientific consensus or merit is utterly meaningless. It protects no one against anything. Companies have to pay it because the law says so. Do not fall for this absent minded bullshit, this is not being done for your benefit. You will end up paying more for less with less overall choice of eliquids, this has nothing to do with your best interest and all to do with the interests of big business.
Which businesses benefit? The obvious two (and the two who would have had a huge hand with lobbyist money at the EU to help implement these regulations in the first place) are big tobacco and big pharma. Both have a vested interest in you dropping vaping and going back to smoking. Big tobacco obviously would rather sell you their existing product. Big pharma would be happy to sell you their 5% success rate quitting aids. The pharmaceutical and tobacco companies are second only to oil and arms industries in terms of income. Do not for a minute think they can not influence lobbies, regulation and laws to their own benefit. But they are not the only people that can benefit.
Controversially, I'm going to mention some within the vape industry themselves who will happily see the TPD into the new year. See, if you run a successful, million + pound / dollar vape company, you'll be fine with the TPD. Expensive regulation cost always benefits those that can afford the regulation costs in the first place. It helps keep their product on shelves as meeting costs to change is a minor inconvenience, all the while eliminating competition which eats away at the bottom line. If a company cannot meet regulation they can't sell legally any more. It eliminates competition and brings you closer to a monopoly on your market sector. I don't begrudge these companies. They did not, after all, ask for the TPD any more than I did, but it remains a fact all the same.
So there you have it. The golden age of vaping as we currently know it is at its end. We welcome instead rich companies about to become much richer and a flood in huge black markets. Facebook juice selling will be rampant. Imports from non-TPD compliant countries will increase. Deals over Ebay, unregulated areas of the internet and more will begin to become more commonplace.
To survive at all, Tokenvape will be selling current stock until May 2017. After this time we will be switching to a separates model. All eliquids we sell will move to zero nicotine pre mixed juice. Zero nicotine eliquid has no restriction or regulation. It is not limited to 10ml bottles only. Separate nicotine shot options will become available. It is either this or die altogether. Essentially, ladies and gents, if you want your favourite juice, premixed with nicotine already present in decent sizes, you need to buy it now not later, because it simply will not exist as you currently know it later. You have been pre-warned. Happy vaping, all.
You must be aged 18 or over to use these products.
Tokenvape e-liquid may contain nicotine.
Nicotine is classed as toxic.
Very toxic if swallowed.
Very toxic in contact with skin.
Keep locked up and out of the reach of children.
If you feel unwell when using these products, stop and seek medical advice immediately.
May contain traces of nuts.
Only to be used with e-cigarettes.