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Across the Atlantic, US town councils continue to crack down on vapers under the guise of anti-smoking regulation. At least two more bans were introduced this week, one restricting vape purchases to over-21s and the other making it illegal to use e-cigarettes in an Arkansas city’s public parks.

MHRA launches TPD crackdown

The European Union’s assault on e-cigarettes, enacted by Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive, has been widely slammed as an unscientific and potentially dangerous law. However, vapers in the UK have been reassured by the fact that the government has taken a fairly lax approach to enforcement. That may be about to chance, as the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency – which is responsible for “interpreting” the TPD standards – announced a tightening of the rules on Wednesday.

It seems that the MHRA is not amused at some of the loopholes which have emerged since the TPD came into law. One example is tanks that come with a TPD-compliant 2ml glass fitted, but a larger one included in the kit. Another is a well-known tank which has a 2ml capacity when fitted with a special “fat” coil, but becomes 4ml with a standard coil installed. From now on any component that changes the liquid capacity will need to be separately notified – and it goes without saying that it’s going to be instantly rejected.

There are also rumours that the MHRA are unhappy with zero-nic flavoured liquid being sold together with a nicotine shot.

British vapers have been reassured by regulators and public health that a “light touch” approach would be taken to the regulations, so advocates are now disturbed that MHRA are tightening the screw so soon.

BAT Vype ad withdrawn after pharma complaint

British American Tobacco have been forced to withdraw an advert from their UK website following a complaint from Nicorette manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The advert was for their new Vype Pebble product, a compact e-cigarette using proprietary liquid cartridges. J&J made four specific complaints; the Advertising Standards Agency upheld three of them fully and one partly.

The partly-upheld complaint was that BAT described the Pebble as “small and mighty”. The ASA accepted that “small” is a reasonable and factual description – it’s only three inches long with a cartridge fitted – but weren’t convinced by “mighty”.

J&J’s other three complaints related to the style of the video and the wording of a special offer. One of the oddities of the TPD is that companies are allowed to advertise their products on their own website, but the advertisements aren’t allowed to be promotional – they’re limited to factual claims. The ASA ruled that the video embedded in the advert was stylised, rather than factual, and the wording of a “Buy five, get one free” offer was intended to encourage people to buy the product. This interpretation of the law puts serious obstacles in the way of anyone who wants to advertise vapour products in the UK.

US vape bans continue to spread

Two more US towns imposed restrictions on vapers this week, as tobacco laws impacted on harm reduction alternatives. Firstly Powell, Ohio, joined the “Tobacco 21” trend, banning the sale of tobacco products to people who’ve been old enough to vote or serve in combat for three years. As usual the definition of “tobacco products” includes any e-liquid which contains nicotine. The law was passed by a 7-0 vote on Tuesday despite at least one councilman expressing reservations about it; supporters of the change included the American Lung Association.

Also on Tuesday the city of Van Buren, Arkansas passed an ordinance making it illegal to smoke or vape in the city’s six public parks. Officially the new law is to “preserve and protect the public health, safety and welfare”, although there has never been any suggestion that second-hand smoke could be dangerous in an outdoor environment. However city officials suggested the real reason is that in the current political climate it’s easier to obtain funding for tobacco-free parks.

British MP promotes e-cigs in parliament

During a parliamentary discussion on tobacco control on Wednesday, Labour MP Kevin Barron was asked if he was aware that the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive made it harder to access vapour products. Barron responded that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, that “this is a fact” and e-cigarettes will be included and supported in the UK’s new tobacco control plan. During the discussion it was pointed out that vaping is also a social justice issue, as many low-income people are smokers and vaping is considerably cheaper.

A Conservative MP reminded Barron that the TPD was introduced and pushed through by a Labour MEP, Linda McAvan. Barron acknowledged that he was aware of this, but reaffirmed his support for vaping.

  • MICKAEL HAMMOUDI

    Très, Très bon article, merci !

  • Henry Clayton

    citations are all apparently missing…

  • Doug Neaves

    MHRA definition of a tank must be wrong.

    The tank glass, and the definitions of tanks actually capture “machine oilers”. These wonderful devices look like earlier versions of tanks.

    An eBay search for “Myford oiler” will produce a good example, the search term “oiler” on its own is not precise enough. Myford, being a make of lathe, the ML7 lathe has two oilers on the headstock. The original Myford oiler has a glass tank, a filler mechanism, a wick, and gloriously has a wire wrapped round the wick. If the 1/8 BSP thread on the bottom was changed to m7 x .5 you could send oilers out to reviewers internationally. You would probably get at least one good review.

    If I had a vape shop, I would have a small amount of shelf-space dedicated to lathe parts. A few cutting tools, drill bits, machine oilers and the innumerable spare glass tubes for the oilers and lubricating oil (big bottles). I would have brochures for hobby lathes on the counter. A fair number of vapers are DIY tinkerers.

    Any “raid” by the forces of darkness would encounter a situation, that collectively they would not have enough brain power, collectively, to process.

    eBay search “Myford oiler”, or just “Myford Lathe”, for the cautious, and once satisfied that “Myford” is a safe term to search on, search “Myford oiler”.

  • Darren Bentley

    Well guess the choke hold begins ,
    The zero mg are exactly zero mg , selling Nico shots along should still be allowed its nonsense making them into 2 seperately purchase orders thats even more costs to the buyer ,
    Another way of slamming down vaper, and maximize the money uk government can make

    • Robert Harvey

      i still don’t get the big deal with nic shots, you want 30ml of 6mg nic custard flavour e-liquid simply have an empty 30ml bottle and fill it with the contents of 3 10ml 6mg nic custard flavour, problem solved.

      you want 60ml of 3mg strawberry flavour e-liquid simply get a 60ml bottle and fill it with the contents of 6 10ml 3mg nic strawberry flavour, problem solved.

      you want 1000ml of 18mg blueberry flavour e-liquid simply get a 1000ml bottle and fill it with the contents of 100 10ml 18mg nic blueberry flavour, problem solved.
      so why all the fuss over nic shots I just don’t get it.

      • Darren Bentley

        Its expensive , the small the size the more it costs , buying in larger sizes then adding nicotine shots to it is cheaper than buying ready made ,
        No problems solved at all you do know how much a 100ml will cost like 300- 400£ GBP.
        Its 4£ for 10ml now , and then they claim its for environmental reasons and make you increase 100s of 10ml bottles , getting rid of glass ect .
        Its all stupidity to maximise the tax revenue under guise of its for our health

        • Robert Harvey

          depends where you buy, last time I bought 100 10ml bottles which was about a month ago it cost £99.15 inclusive of P&P from a UK manufacturer, after that you only need say 10 empty 60ml bottles to decant the e-juice into, sure there will be more waste but that’s the governments fault not yours.
          if you can go on getting nic shots and it suits you that’s your choice and I have no problem with that but if they put a stop to this then I am just pointing out that there are ways and means and it need not cost you a fortune.

          • Darren Bentley

            Im good ive 5.5 liters of 7.2% 72mgs highest UK strength Nicotine stashed in freezer in Brown Glass bottles so im good , which cost 40£ per 1000ml and go 3 x further than 100 x 10ml nicotine shots
            To get that equal amount youd need to buy 300 at what price 300£ when i paid 40£ ,
            No thank you.
            They will hit the Nicotine shot soon thats more taxes they losing out they do mot want diy it’s seen as a lost tax revenue too them ,

          • Carl Billingham

            You where robbed by the powers that be. Just prior to the May 20 TPD deadline, my elder purchased 12 x 100ml bottles (1.2 litres) of 3mg juice for £79.92 inc. postage. So the TPD effectively cost you £20 more for 200ml less.

          • Robert Harvey

            all depends on the quality of the juice, and the variety of flavours, so with the example you give there are 12 x 100ml bottles so 12 possible flavours but with my purchase I was able to get a much wider variety of flavours in 10ml bottles, also the firm who makes and sells the juice charged the same price before TPD as they do after TPD so the TPD is irrelevant.
            also the juice from this manufacturer is available from 0mg up to 18mg at no extra cost.

      • Paul Courtier

        Because you don’t get it that’s the problem. It’s cheaper currently to buy 10ml 18mg nic shot and 60ml 0mg flavour juice. You can then add the required nic amount to make it 3mg or 6mg. You can not buy 60ml of 3mg or 6mg. That’s the point. Tpd restricts all nicotine content juice to 10ml

        • Robert Harvey

          you can however buy 6x 10ml of 3mg or 6mg and put the contents into one 60ml bottle so why bother with nic shots.

  • tony

    How can we have any faith in an organisation that makes us jump through hoops to test and notify e liquids at a massive expense then doesn’t even check submitted results but asks the submitting party to self certify that their products comply with all regulations. The MHRA received millions of pounds in fees yet can not employ a team to check submitted data. These tpd regs are a joke small vendors just can’t compete with each countries requirements to sell into their state, plus why can Belgium (amongst others) ban retail cross border sales into them but their vendors can sell into our market, the MHRA should say if your country bans cross border sales then your vendors can’t sell into any country thats banned from the Belgian market, whats the point of EU membership if each member state can ban cross border sales.

    • Darren Bentley

      Exactly thats free trade , if tbey are refusing others but expected to export then that isnt free trade thats , having a monopoly over its own market and free trade with others who cant trade in there monopoly , ? Thats just wrong , and EU should not be allowing that ,