Whilst the government scrambles to negotiate a decent deal to leave the European Union, it’s pretty safe to say the majority of businesses and industries will be affected in one way or another.
This includes the vaping sector, where arguably EU regulation has changed the face of vaping since the TPD (Tobacco Product Directive) first came into full effect back in May 2017; capping tank sizes, nicotine strengths, bottle capacities and also advertising laws of vape products and their potential harm-reducing benefits.
We take a look at the consequences and the future of vaping, as the UK is expected to leave the EU in a little over two months time.
It is likely that the regulations surrounding vaping are to be revised post-Brexit yet an immediate change is highly doubtful, as reported in this article from the Pharmaceutical Journal. At present, the vaping industry is regulated by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation (TRPR) who implemented the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) standards back in 2017.
This resulted in various concrete measures put into place, such as tank sizes being limited to 2ml and pre-mixed nicotine bottles to a 10ml maximum capacity. As well as this, the reduced risk and benefits of vaping aren’t permitted to be advertised, which in turn limits the possible reach of smokers looking to quit.
Here's a video of the parliamentary discussion that provides a snapshot as to how attitudes to vaping have changed inside government and how it could affect the industry at large.
The public consensus on vaping is somewhat mixed, many agreeing with the numerous studies conducted by health bodies over the past few years that vaping is far less harmful (95% to be precise) than smoking. However, there is still a large number of people who perceive vaping in the same bracket as smoking, which is mostly due to the restriction of education surrounding e-cigarettes.
As a result, the UKVIA (UK Vaping Industry Association) was formed in 2016, to teach and promote the advantages of vaping from a health and business point of view. Dan Marchant, a board member of the UKVIA, states, “The UK is seen as a world leader in the vaping sector, and yet still a significant percentage of smokers incorrectly believe vaping to be as bad as, or worse than smoking. This is a message which has been propagated by the media with the spread of junk science and the click-bait mentality but we are at last starting to see a turn in the tide. Brexit could allow the opportunity to update the advertising laws which currently curtail the ability to spread the public health potential of these products to the public. Beyond this, there is the ability to update the TRPR in general, and correct many of the unjustified restrictions on tank sizes and bottle sizes, which only serve to make vaping less convenient and stifle innovation".
The UK remains one the largest consumers of e-cigarettes in Europe, more than double than its next competitor and the second worldwide, behind the US. The scope for growth from a financial point of view could possibly be immense, whilst the reduction of tobacco smokers could potentially see the burden on the NHS gradually lifted to a more manageable level.
All of these regulations, if revised, will arguably have a beneficial effect on vaping, which is estimated as the fastest growing industry in the UK already.
With the UK controlling its own laws surrounding vaping, coupled with the vast amount of studies advocating the use of vaping from PHE (Public Health England) and the NHS, it could feasibly result in a massive shift in strategy both on a social and economic level.
Needless to say that the coming years could represent a change in the opinion, size and marketability of the vaping community.
For more information on the TPD please visit the TPD Direct Gov website