Brexit: new laws for e-cigs underway

Politicians in the UK want to change the laws for vejp products in the country. A motion in the House of Commons proposes to exempt e-cigarettes from rules based on the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

"The motion is a first step towards removing the rules on tank sizes, nicotine bottle sizes and the cap on maximum nicotine strength". Writes the online magazine Planet of the Vapes.

The European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) regulates all tobacco and tobacco-like products in EU Member States. For e-cigarettes, these include maximum nicotine levels (20 mg/ml), bottle sizes (10 ml for nicotine-containing liquids), tank sizes (maximum 2 ml when sold) and labelling on the packaging (clear health warning for nicotine).

Like other directives, the TPD has been implemented in all EU countries and has become part of national legislation in various ways. But with the UK now officially leaving the EU, the laws don't really need to be based on the EU Tobacco Directive anymore. And that opens the door to change.

Lower nicotine levels do not help smokers

Already in 2018, when the House of Commons scientific committee reviewed the EU e-cigarette directive, concerns were raised about the details of the directive. Since 2016, Great Britain hashas recognised e-cigarettes as an important tool to reduce smoking in the country. According to the UK Department of Health, vejpning has the potential to reduce harm by 95 per cent for smokers. However, the directive became part of the Tobacco Products Act, despite the fact that it was not in line with domestic research.

"The 20 mg/ml cap on nicotine has probably prevented many smokers from exploring e-cigarettes. The reason is that they simply do not find vejping sufficiently satisfying, compared to smoking."
It says Lynne Dawkins, Professor of Tobacco and Nicotine Research at London South Bank University, to news channel RegWatch.

Nicotine warnings are unnecessarily scary

According to Lynne Dawkins, a researcher of the behaviour and usage habits of vejpers in the UK for almost 10 years, the TPD has reduced the possibilities of using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. In addition to lower nicotine levels, she points to the warnings required by the directive on the packaging. The texts are meant to discourage new users, but often fail to do so, she says.

"30 per cent of smokers have not even tried e-cigarettes. One of the reasons is the fear of 'trading one addiction for another'. We have also seen that strong nicotine warnings on packs only reinforce that fear in smokers." says Lynne Dawkins, who now hopes that Brexit will bring positive changes.

"Legislation should be based on modern research. The TPD came about when research on e-cigarettes was not very advanced. The nicotine ceiling is a good example. Today we know that vejp users compensate for lower nicotine content with higher power, longer puffs and greater consumption of e-juice. They follow the same pattern as smokers who use weaker cigarettes. Although the health risks are significantly lower compared to smoking, it is an unnecessary risk that we should be able to avoid". Lynne Dawkins told RegWatch.

Opening up for change

The motion to change the laws on e-cigarettes is currently in the House of Commons for a second reading. And according to Planet of the Vapes, there is a long way to go before any change can be made.

"While the proposal does not mean that the laws will disappear overnight, it opens the door to major changes in the future," writes Planet of the Vapes.

Electronic Cigarettes (Regulation) Bill 2019-21 (planet of the vapes)

NICOTINE NAYSAYERS | Could Nicotine Restrictions Do More Harm Than Good? (RegWatch)

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