Early last year, Totally Wicked e-liquid launched a legal challenge against the Tobacco Products Directive, and then, during the latter half of last year they were awarded the right, by the UK Courts to indeed challenge Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), in the European Courts of Justice.

This challenge is based on the view that Article 20 of the TPD represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provisions of services, places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products, fails to comply with the general EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of electronic cigarette manufacturers and users.

The TPD that is due to come into force in May 2016 will mean the following changes to YOUR vaping:

  • You will not be able to buy the devices you use now! 2ml tank capacity limit means a huge swathe of the most popular products will be unavailable. (The wording of TPD Article 20 is ambiguous in respect of this limit, but the first Member State to implement has decided on an outright ban on tanks over 2ml capacity.).
  • You will have less choice of e-liquids! Harsh regulations around fluid and emissions testing mean that small and artisanal e-liquid manufacturers will be unable to compete, or in many cases even stay in business. Larger manufacturers will be forced to restrict the choices in their fluid ranges.
  • You will have less choice of nicotine strength! The 20 mg/ml nicotine strength limit means that those most at risk from combustible cigarettes (heavy smokers) are least likely to be able to satisfy nicotine craving with e-cigarettes.
  • All e-cigarettes will start to look the same! Ensuring “leak free refilling” (to be supported by a proposed Pan-European standard filling mechanism) also outlaws the vast majority of refillable and all rebuildable products, to be replaced by e-cigarettes with the same generic and standardised filling mechanism.
It will also affect the industry! 
 
  • Advertising restrictions – we are unable to inform customers to enable them to make a positive choice for an alternative to combustible cigarettes.
  • Pre-market notification gives us a huge administrative burden, and a 6 month delay in getting products to market, but there is no evidence of any risks for this notification to mitigate.
  • Listing of all ingredients (recently suggested at down to 0.1% by the European Commission) in pre-market notifications and making that information publicly available means that we are forced to make public full “recipes” for flavoured e-liquids.
  • Toxicological testing of fluids and emissions for every product (every flavour, every strength) will present a disproportionate burden to suppliers that have the widest and most innovative e-liquid ranges. There is no precedent for this type of testing, and very little toxicological data available for flavourings “by inhalation”, so the costs are likely to be in excess of £10K per flavour and strength.
  • A standardised refill mechanism destroys a huge market sector, restricts innovative product designs, and homogenises a vibrant and diverse competitive market.

List courtesy of Totally Wicked.

Totally Wicked Legal Challenge has gathered 40k signatures so far. You can support their (our!) case here.