After having many phone calls, and doing what I can to research this issue, as well as responding to all manner of messages across my social media, I thought I would get this post out into the world regarding the TPD/TRPR and Drippers/RDAs.
Some of you on Facebook or Twitter may have seen this communication which has literally blown up on social media over the last few hours..
Causing mayhem, this now leads us to believe that where it was previously uncertain, without question, RDA’s/Drippers are now absolutely included in the previously entitled ‘TPD’ (Tobacco Products Directive) now ‘TRPR’ (Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016).
But what does it actually mean?
Essentially, all drippers that were previously thought to have been excluded by the non-specific wording of the previous documents, now will need to go through the notification and approval process in the same way tanks etc do. The challenge here is that because of the lack of communication, the majority of RDA’s would not have gone through the process up to this point, and therefore, as of 12:01am Saturday morning may be ‘illegal’ for retailers to sell in the UK.
Surely they told us this before right?
Well it would have been nice, the reality is that it seemed that in 2014, the people making the rules didn’t actually know the difference between e-cigarettes, and the ‘vaping products’ that we know and love today. Looking at the original Tobacco Products Directive, Article 20, section (3) ( document here – http://ec.europa.eu/health//sites/health/files/tobacco/docs/dir_201440_en.pdf) it states:
3. Member States shall ensure that: (a) nicotine-containing liquid is only placed on the market in dedicated refill containers not exceeding a volume of 10 ml, in disposable electronic cigarettes or in single use cartridges and that the cartridges or tanks do not exceed a volume of 2 ml
Hopefully you can see the ‘wooly’ nature of this sentence, and therefore understand that ‘drippers’ or RDA’s seem to have been missed in favour of highlighting ‘tanks’. This almost made sense as elsewhere in the document, it suggested that the issue would be ‘breakable’ tanks:
(g) electronic cigarettes and refill containers are child- and tamper-proof, are protected against breakage and leakage and have a mechanism that ensures refilling without leakage.
However, as they were unaware of what we used, metal tanks and drippers were not included, therefore it’s realistic to assume that those products would be excluded – apart from the ‘leakage’ aspect – what is truly ‘leak-proof’?
Now of course we have the revised document (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/507/pdfs/uksi_20160507_en.pdf), the TRPR – Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 where it states on page 5 under the ‘Interpretation’ heading –
“electronic cigarette” means a product that— (a) can be used for the consumption of nicotine-containing vapour via a mouth piece
And this is the section that is being referred to in the communication at the start of this article.
So, how do I as a retailer get RDA’s certified so I can continue to sell them?
Currently, this is the million dollar question. If they’re not already through the notification and approval process, then they’re clearly not going to be ready for the start of business on Saturday the 20th May 2017. Where it really gets interesting is that currently, your humble scribe is unaware of what the testing process actually looks like for metal bodied drippers/RDAs. Without succinct information on this we are all in the dark.
I’ve seen on social media that they can be sold broken down into pieces as ‘spares’, is that correct?
A good question, but not one I’d bet my house on the outcome of! While the communication states “More generic parts such as washers, O-rings and screws, which are necessary for the functioning of the device but are not characteristic elements of electronic cigarettes, could also be deemed to fall outside of the scope of the reporting obligations foreseen under the TPD” and so some people are reading that as ‘parts’ are acceptable, the key phrasing in the statement is “not characteristic elements of electronic cigarettes”. An O-ring or screw could be used in far more applications than purely a dripper, however, a top cap, deck, posts, or insulators, would all need the rest of the dripper to function as they are not a product in their own right – ergo, now under the TRPR and not allowed to be sold without notification.
So where does this leave us?
A post on my Vaping Biker Facebook page sums up the confusion in a way a lot of people are feeling tonight..
Unfortunately, while we’ve known the TPD and now TRPR is upon us, the communication with hard factual information has not been forthcoming, leading many people to believe whatever they read on social media. This has lead to a level of apathy amongst many, while other pro-active retailers have had a strong desire to remain within the confines of the legislation and have spent/lost money in that pursuit, sadly miscommunication between conversations within the MHRA, or simply a lack of tangible facts telling people what they need to do, now has brought many to a point of holding our hands up and just staring into the distance in complete disbelief and confusion.
At the point of writing this article, there are still many unanswered questions, but as of now – 00.04am on Saturday the 20th May 2017 – we still need considerably more answers than we’ve been given, and a lot of retailers are now at risk of breaking the law through no fault of their own.
Sad times indeed. We as vapers know the ridiculous nature of the majority of the inclusions of Article 20, although a large amount of us would suggest that at least testing the eliquid is a good idea, everything else has been solely reactionary from the government, and unfortunately they’ve been reacting to a movement they don’t understand.
I am working with other individuals within the vaping community to hopefully allow me to bring you more, unarguable factual information over the coming week or so, and hopefully we’ll see a positive move forward as a result. For now though, have we seen the last of RDA’s in UK shops? That’s just not a question that can be answered at the moment.
I’d love to hear your comments, so post your thoughts down below.
The Vaping Biker
‘Ave it Large!