In the first research of its kind, scientists say the TPD created a black market which has and still is putting vapers lives at risk.
Doctors from the University of East Anglia [UEA] have found the European wide legislation meant to ‘protect‘ vapers from unregistered high strength e-liquid products, has done the opposite, forcing vapers to look elsewhere for a higher nicotine ‘hit‘.
Not only that, the results of the study hi-lights the incredible damage to the environment due to the ridiculous 10ml e-liquid bottle rule and the scientists conclude this limit should be changed as soon as possible.
Introduced back in May 2016, the Tobacco Products Directive [TPD] was forced onto Europe’s vapers with legislation that included a 20mg cap on all e-liquids containing nicotine.
The TPD also decreed that vapers should only be allowed to vape on tanks with a 2ml capacity – probably the most ridiculous decision ever made by the EU – apart from the infamous straight or bendy banana fiasco.
Whilst that may be an urban legend – there is some truth into the myth – the EU does indeed have a ruling that bananas should be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature” *sighs*
Anyway, as always I digress…not a fan of the EU to say the least…
Focus On E-liquid Safety NOT Strengths Or Capacity
The team of researchers, based at the UEA’s Norwich Medical School, say whilst the TPD concentrated on the punitive side of things, the politicos failed to look at the bigger picture.
And in this case both the limits of nicotine strength and tank capacity.
However, it’s the 20mg nicotine limit that is most concerning to the doctors, and lead researcher Dr Emma Ward said:
…the most worrying thing that we found was that the restrictions caused some people to buy higher strength e-liquids and prohibited components on the black market via countries where regulations do not apply such as China and the US – potentially putting their safety at risk.
We found that awareness about safety legislation was not universal but on the whole, vapers were reassured by manufacturing regulations and requirements for ingredients labels.
Some of the participants felt the regulations led to more plastic waste, because it meant they needed to use smaller bottles of e-liquid, with more packaging.
Dr Ward was also surprised to see many vapers agreeing with vape regulations, however many were calling for regulations that already exist!
She also called for health professionals to do more in blowing away the myths that vaping is as, if not more dangerous than smoking:
Public health bodies, Stop Smoking Services, and healthcare professionals should consider raising awareness about the regulations to smokers, to offer reassurance about vaping products and e-liquid ingredients.
This could help more smokers switch to vaping.
Harm reduction messages on packaging, comparing e-cigarettes to tobacco could also nudge smokers to switch to less harmful vaping.
Wise words indeed and great to see doctors pushing the vaping is indeed safer than smoking message.
TPD Created A Black Market Due To Negative Legislation
The scientists studied the data from 160 vapers on the whole subject of the TPD, from both interviews and surveys.
The research began after the team listened to concerns about the ramifications of the TPD from both consumers, scientists and the wider vaping industry.
They concluded it’s widely believed some legislation within the TPD has been bad, not just on vapers, but also smokers looking to quit.
The UEA’s Prof Caitlin Notley, said:
There have been significant concerns from consumers, industry, and even some in the scientific community about the potential negative impact of the TPD rules.
We wanted to find out how consumers perceived and experienced the regulations.
All of this is particularly important right now during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since completely switching from smoking to vaping improves cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, smokers who switch to vaping might be expected to have a better prognosis if infected by Covid-19.
I’ve written about Professor Caitlin Notley’s e-cigarette research a few times now, and have to say she is extremely pro-vaping – based on her findings and NOT any bias – vapers are very lucky to have a scientist of her prowess fighting our corner.
The study was a joint enterprise with the UEA – the London South Bank University and the equally pro-vaping scientists from the excellent University of Leicester and received funding from yet another supportive organization – Cancer Research UK.
Dr Ward said the science proves e-cigarettes are safer than smoking, but says global legislation is confusing:
Switching to vaping is now the most popular way for people to stop smoking in the UK.
Studies have shown that while vape liquid can contain potentially harmful compounds, it is much safer than smoking tobacco.
But regulation of e-cigarettes varies considerably around the world, from no legislation at all in around half of countries, to total bans in 29 countries.
Not quite sure what she means by ‘potentially harmful components within e-liquid‘ – but they nothing is 100% safe…
TPD Created Black Market – Final Thoughts
The TPD was and still is a major pain in the ass for vapers across Europe.
Unfortunately the 2020 TPD review is looming on the horizon and as I’ve written many times, those EU bureaucrats have e-cigarettes in their sights.
Far from relaxing the current regulations, there’s a real chance those un-elected buffoons will tighten them and in countries such as Denmark – try to ban flavoured products completely.
Should they decide to impose such a ban, you can only begin to imagine where vapers will go to get their fruit and menthol flavours!
Look at what happened in the USA with the unregistered deadly additives added to illicit black market THC cartridges – people died.
By all means regulate e-liquids sensibly – but banning them outright will force even more people onto the obviously dangerous black market with all the risks that brings.
Because a fight it is and will be!
The EU has gone from a ‘cold war‘ on all things vape into a hot one, and unless vapers band together – vaping in Europe will never be the same again.
Get Involved And Save Vaping From the EU
- European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates
- New Nicotine Alliance
- Get Vaping Removed From The TPD – Let’s Make It Happen!
Read the full study: A Qualitative Exploration of Consumers’ Perceived Impacts, Behavioural Reactions, and Future Reflections of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (2017) as Applied to Electronic Cigarettes