April 04, 2017

TPD Compliant Wholesale E-Liquid

With the nuisance law or TPD now partly in effect and due to become fully effective in May, E-Liquid and E-Cigarette wholesalers are anxious to make sure that they are entirely compliant with the law. This is especially true for the leaders in the vaping market, who have been at the front of the pack and don't wish to fall behind. Usually their complete array of products spans from Starter Kits to advanced kits, and everything in between.

Since these wholesalers are at the top of their game, they should have already become TPD compliant.  However, in the ensuing panic over the contentious new TPD rules and regulations to the e-cigarette and vaping industry, there has been a lot of confusion, and as a result, a lot of inaccurate information is circulating about. Here's what to expect from your wholesaler:

What precisely is the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD)?

TPD stands for the Tobacco Products Directive.  These rules and regulations were originally presented by the European Commission back in 2001 with the intent of putting things in order for the European market for tobacco products, and to enhance the quality of the product and make it safer for public consumption.

Later, in 2014, the European Commission printed a revision to the TPD with the aim being to equalize the rules pertaining to tobacco and related products throughout the European Union, this time adding e-cigarettes.

So it is that starting May 20, 2016, e-cigarettes and other nicotine vapor products will be regulated in Europe by Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU).

The new law decrees that EU countries must comply with the recently adopted regulations, which now also includes e-cigarettes and e-liquids. This also pertains to any imports which come into the EU.

The rules apply directly to ingredients, the volume of liquid, nicotine levels, vapor emissions, plus product specification, labeling, packaging, and selling thus bringing about enhanced product quality, improved public information and a higher level of safety.

Main Changes to E-Liquid and E-Cigarettes and Vaping Hardware

  • All liquids which have any amount of nicotine, including e-cigarette kits and clearomizers now need to adhere to certain required standards as must information submitted to the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency) which will only be a notification and does not substitute for authorization.
  • Refill bottles cannot hold more than 10ml
  • Atomizers (tanks cannot exceed 2ml
  • Since dripper bottles do not meet the regulations, they will have to be discontinued.
  • Nicotine content of 20mg/per ml is a maximum (2. 0%)
  • Notification is now necessary, which results in a 6 month wait for launching a new product, regardless of what it may be.
  • New limits have been placed on advertising and marketing.

The new rules are currently being gradually phased in starting from May 2016, but by May 2017 full compliance will be required. Wholesalers and resellers had to notify all of their products to the MHRA by November 2016.

If you have any products which are not notified or not compliant, they must be taken out of public sale by May 2017.

Will it still be possible to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids as usual, or will a special license now be required?

There is no requirement to obtain a special license in order to sell these products.

Are vaping products going to be considered medicines now, and regulated accordingly, thus limiting how they can be sold?

No, it is not necessary to regulate e-cigarettes and e-liquids like medicines are. MHRA is going to be overseeing the TPD regulations (Article 20) as they relate to e-cigarettes, with daily management being handled by Trading Standards.  

Will it still be possible to purchase all of the present vape product range?

It's that terrible answer that wholesalers hate. Yes and No. Because of the new regulations and their efforts to comply many e-cigarette and e-liquid wholesalers will need to review their entire assortment of current products and how consumers have reacted to them in order to decide what they want to continue selling after May 2017. Fortunately, it looks like these product range changes will not be too serious and thus will have no effect on your ability to sell the usual products.

What additional duties do e-cigarette and e-iquid wholesalers need to undertake in order to comply with the new regulations?

Most will be carrying out the same duties as they did prior to the new law, but the difference is that now they will be required to submit more documentation pertaining to their testing methods and quality procedures so that they will be able to continue selling their product range. Most wholesalers have been readying themselves for the changes ever since the new TPD regulations were announced, and thus are already moving ahead to the advanced levels of compliance, with some degree of product testing already finished according to the required standards.

Will there be any changes in e-liquids?

For most wholesalers their e-liquid will maintain the same high standards as they practice at present, but they will no longer be permitted to sell them in bottles larger than 10ml, or in nicotine strengths over 25 (20mg/ml).

Wholesalers will now be forced to test each of their e-liquids in a more expensive and time consuming way than prior to these rules, which translates into hence they will reduce the number of flavors and strength options you can purchase. However, don't sweat it, as they will still be producing a high range of e-liquid flavors.

To ensure that all flavors which are continued to be produced will be popular sellers, wholesalers will identify those which are customer favorites, through the use of surveys and sales figures, so your favorite e-liquid flavors will remain in production.

Will there be changes to any of the vape hardware?

Well, the story goes like this. Most wholesalers have some vaping kits that comply with the TPD's regulations, but they also have those which do not. From May 2017 on all new vaping kits must have clearomizers/atomizers that are no greater than 2ml. Don't worry too much, though. Your favorite wholesaler will almost certainly have a vast array of new fully compliant hardware ready for you to pass on to your customers.

Will there be advertising restrictions?

TPD Article 20 states that 'promotion' of e-cigarettes online, or through print, transmitted media (TV & Radio) and also sponsorship will not be permitted. Plus, price promotions (such as a buy 1 get 1 free sale) will be banned, along with the advertising of such promotions. It is, however, allowed to supply factual product information. Naturally, in store marketing is allowed too.


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