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..

MHRA communication regarding RDA's


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 – 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 (, 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..

confusion and the TPD TRPR


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!


  1. We need to make cloud chasing an official national sport! Theyll then get tax revenue for these events.
    Ever heard of the goverment turning down money for innovation?
    That aside the new TRPR/TPD laws are a complete clusterfuck but I’m only using UK wholesalers now and now avoiding China suppliers. These guys are responsible for selling UK TRPR/TPD compliant stock to OUR UK stores now, and THOSE guys should be held accountable and answerable. If its not LEGALLY brought in/imported to the UK , they are breaking the law at the first hurdle.
    My 2 cents anyway.

  2. Surely if the item comes with the notice that “it is only intended to be be used with with 0mg eliquid”, then it will be fine?

  3. Everything that works well is covered, they are killing the innovation that has taken place and BAT and others are going to sell rubbish items, this will turn many back to smoking.
    But £££££s means more than lives in today’s world.
    As a footnote the guy sat with you on the One show stated that it was not proven that the contents of eliquid were safe to inhale and more research was needed. So VG I believe is a major component of inhalers, so begs the question if inhalers are safe !
    Keep Vaping guys

  4. Would it not make sense then to suspend the regulations as unsafe, seeing as those responcible for drafting the regulations to ensure the industry safety minimums, were in fact completely ignorant of the products they were legislating…thats like me telling a fireman how to do his job and making up rules as i see fit and expecting it to work

  5. An interesting read, Dean.

    I know of an online shop that has begun selling it’s RDA’s as “competition devices” and “not intended for use with nicotine” but I have a feeling that’s not going to fly.
    It seems pretty obvious that the lack of communication on the details of these new requirements is because they don’t actually have a clue about what these things are that they are passing laws on. It’s a disgrace really.

  6. Thanks Dean, useful info & a website that shames many retailers.

  7. It just seems they are making things up as they so chose. We can buy cannabis seeds as long as we dont grow them as a grown plant is illeagal. To be able to sell seeds they have to be sold as souveniers, what if our tanks were sold as soveniers too. Sorry to mention cannabis but just trying to make a point. It seems like they want to take all trade from the shops in the uk so we now buy through the likes of gearbest and fasttech, i wonder who them companys belong too. For me vaping nothing has changed as i buy from china anyway just been screwed on nicotine. Feel sorry for people trying to run a vape shop though…

  8. It’s this”intended use” clause. I can see RDAs and tanks coming with warning labels saying “this RDA is not intended to be used with any e liquid containing nicotine.” Reminds me of the “not for human consumption” labels on the not-so-legal highs.
    A 5ml tank would then be exempt from TRPR regulation as it’s not intended to contain nicotine … Possibly a little naive, but without that clarity …

  9. Dare I raise the question of squonk mods? Are they refill containers? The Lost Vape Drone has a capacity of 11ml

    1. Author

      In theory they shouldn’t be allowed, however, does a bottle in a squonker essentially behave as a bottle in your hand? The main issue though, if you can’t put an RDA on it, it doesn’t have a lot of point.

      Further clarification is without a doubt needed.

    1. Author

      Thanks for that, the unfortunate part is the first sentence and lack of commitment, and in that, it would have been difficult to have a confident outcome. Unfortunately, it’s been the case for a while that even the MHRA haven’t been too confident in what’s included. Still, it’s a helpful bit of information 🙂

  10. Ignorance is at fault here, I had read the ‘draft tpd’ and my attitude was, great rda’s aren’t mentioned so I’ll be fine.

    It never occurred to me that the MHRA might not be aware of rda’s, or Genesis, or anything else we use for that matter.

    Simple fact is rda’s do leak, so why wouldn’t they include them?

    I’m gutted as I only really use rda’s.

  11. Hi Dean, thank you for your efforts. I feel there needs to be a .gov uk page listing the full t’s and c’s including a breakdown of all vaping products including all components and the new laws they want followed in actual 2017 English so everyone including village simpletons like myself can understand without getting a sore head!

    God bless you my good man!

    1. Author

      Cheers! Sadly that would make things way too easy LOL

  12. Cheers for the information dean
    Great work as always

    1. I really hope so. So I gave you a thumbs up.

  13. My cloud chasing sport device is all good 😉
    Due to not been used as a nicotine delivery system purely just for 0mg 😉

  14. Hi Dean
    Thanks for taking the time out to find this information and put it in black and white. I for one will be following this closely.

  15. My views from a retailers perspective is that the use of the words “Can be used with nicotine liquid” mean the interpretation of selling RDAs in spare parts is really irrelevant if we are following it word for word.

    Surely an RDA deck, when sold on it’s own without a top cap, is unable to be used to inhale nicotine containing liquid – which then according to the definition, therefore is not an electronic cigarette. Similarly a top cap for an RDA even with a mouthpeice, cannot be used to inhale nicotine containing liquid as it’s basically a piece of metal.

    I would happily stand in front of a court of law if necessary to argue that point – “Legal Highs etc” we’re sold for years on the premise that they were marked “not for human consumption”. Surely if that arguement stood, then why wouldn’t “it cannot be used as it is sold to inhale nicotine” also be a valid point?

    RDA’s will remain on my shelves, allbeit in sections of decks, and top caps on seperate shelves.

    1. That’s my take too – and the top cap is, essentially, a mouthpiece. Similarly, if anything CAN be used to inhale nicotine, then a kettle is captured. FWIW, my take is that is a kit of disassembled parts that contains NO pre-made coil is sold, it should not fall under TRPR restrictions. I do, also, think it’s going to need a test case to set precedent.

    2. Author

      Unfortunately, a deck without a top cap is still a ‘characteristic element of electronic cigarettes’ with no outside use

      1. actually you could use a deck for quite a few thing, with or without the topcap. for example, back when the tpd was first proposed my first thought was to stick a couple of led’s into the post holes for use as a torch, with the top cap used to focus the light and provide ventilation. i’ve had quite a lot of other idea’s since then, some of which stretch things (mini crouton toaster anyone), but there are plenty of other things that they could be used for.

      2. Dean has inadvertently missed the most crucial few words from the TRPR definition that (probably) means that each separate part of a tank / rda are included (excuse my caps):
        “can be used for the consumption of nicotine-containing vapour via a mouth piece, OR ANY COMPONENT OF THAT PRODUCT, including a cartridge, a tank and the device without cartridge or tank (regardless of whether the produce is disposable or refillable by means of a refill container and a tank, or rechargeable with single use cartridges)…”

        1. Then surely my oil burner will need a warning, it holds 4 ml of liquid and if i were to make a simple cap from a coke bottle i could inhale nicotine in it. Ok it would include candle taste aswell but i have heard of electric ones.

          Even more ridiculous is my electric hob….turn a pan upside down, drill a hole and drip directly.

          if i was desperate a hot exhaust manifold and a splash.

          Basically you can make a dripper type device from anything that get hot and half a coke bottle.

  16. Dean
    Saw this appear on FB yesterday evening – messaged James @Evolution vaping for his views.
    Might be worth seeking out his take on all of this,

    1. Author

      I spoke to James last night 🙂

  17. Good work Deano. We shall no doubt, I hope, see in the future a big vendor get in trouble and argue the case and they will have to make things clearer for all. There’s far too much confusion around this and I personally feel it should be scrapped and re-written by English speaking decision makers who have real consultation from people who actually understand how Vaping works. But then again, that would make sense which seems to be packing ilately. Time will tell.

  18. Thank you Dean for your efforts tonight. I know we have not seen eye to eye in the past but your effort here is very much appreciated. Basically what I can see they have done is actually banned people from building a simple electric circuit for themselves. I could go on to say does this mean all electronic learning toys should be banned too? Or physics/electronic lessons in schools where you use wire and crocodile clips to complete a curcuit? I know that doesn’t involve nicotine. But let’s face it they have obviously agreed on a maximum amount of nicotine we can use and I feel this ban of a simple electronic curcuit is actually treating us worse then year 7 children that get taught how to complete a curcuit by using wire at school.

    1. I was literally about to comment the same thing.
      I was sat reading this, worrying if I can grab some terminal block from the electrical wholesalers, as you can screw a wire coil into some of that.

      As an aside, are drippers actually banned? Seeing as technically they are just a connector, with minimum/no liquid storage. I just assumed that as the liquid is mainly held in the cotton, if it’s sold without any prebuilt coils/cotton then surely it can’t come under the TPD’s regulations

      1. Author

        Drippers are made for the purpose of vaping, and that’s the key issue. A kettle for instance isn’t included for the same reason O-Rings, screws, and so on are outside of the guidelines, they’re for many other purposes, but a dripper and it’s particular parts are generally specific for purpose

  19. I think people should also look at “Vaping with Vic”s recent vlog which included a very good explanation of what has happened with this IMO. The TRPR are the UK regulations which implement the TPD in this country. Directives from the EU set out objectives and it is then up to Member States to draw up and implement their own legislation in order to achieve these, whilst having the flexibility to implement stricter rules if they so wish, particularly with “health” related legislation.

    So whilst the Directive (which was drawn up some years ago before vaping moved into the mainstream and the widespread use of rdas etc) appeared to focus on single use and disposable tanks, it is the UK authorities that have chosen to include the specific text that is in the TRPR and expand what was in the Directive and define things in the way they have. So whilst I may hate the TPD, the responsibility for this particular issue lies squarely at the feet of the UK legislators.

    If I understood Vic’s video correctly, the Germans have adopted the TPD text on this aspect word for word and consequently, RDAs and even RTAs with tanks bigger than 2mls will still be allowed to be placed on the market there. This might in part explain why German based InTaste decided some months ago not to ship to certain EU countries (including UK) whilst still selling and shipping to others, and saying it was down to the TPD (which is sort of true because it was that that required member states to implement legislation in line with its objectives, but on the other hand not, because it is the UK which has decided to implement harsher regulations as regards this particular aspect. I am speculating about InTaste’s reasoning behind their decision here). Apologies to Vic if I have got anything wrong here

    So yes, taking back our sovereignty and hammering vapers harder here than elsewhere in Europe…..

    1. Author

      There is the potential for member states to be over-ruled even at this stage and forced to run the same level of legislation sadly. Strangely, the UK has not been the hardest hit with the implementation of these rules, although with it’s current level of ambiguity, we may not be far behind.

      1. Hi Dean, It’s my understanding that it may be the case that the Commission could bring a case against the UK government on the basis that the UK legislation acts against the free movement of goods i.e. prevents goods which are able to be sold in one country, from being sold in another. However, and i may be wrong on this, the legislation is covering health issues and UK could argue that therefore the legislation on tobacco products is under its jurisdiction under the principle of subsidiary and they can implement harsher regulations than those set out in the Directive. I’m no expert on EU law, but i think that as long as they can demonstrate that the legislation meets the objectives, and minimum requirements set out in the TPD, then the uk govt is meeting it’s responsibilities. The fact that the UK govt. have introduced the wording they have means that it is their view that harsher legislation is required, and leaving the EU will actually make it MORE likely rather than less that even sterner stuff it’s ahead than a rolling back of the UK govt. decided scope and measures. Sad, worrying, but highly likely in my view.

    2. (Unfortunately, it’s not possible to reply directly to your answer to Dean’s reply, so I’ve had to put it here.) It’s far more likely that the “loophole” states will find themselves with a wrist-slap in the near future. In this case, the UK government looked at the TPD and crossed every i and dotted every t when creating their own legislation in compliance with the directive. Germany looked at the same TPD and said to themselves “nah, that’s a l, not a t; doesn’t need dotting”. They’re probably going to run up against “agreed intent” problems unless changes occur at the European level, but at the very least restriction of movement of goods isn’t going to stick if it’s obvious that everybody else (including the Chinese, who are obviously interested but not directly party to the agreement) have expressed an understanding that 2ml is the maximum allowable capacity for refillable tanks under the TPD.

  20. Ambiguity goes both ways in this issue, unfortunately being in the hands of “public servants” its a fair bet that any action will go in many more than two directions.
    There is the ignorance is no defence argument on one side. It’s also inherent on authority to provide clarity which hasn’t happened.
    My hope would be that until there is clarity no legal action will be taken, I’m not holding my breath waiting for common sense though.
    I feel for the smaller vendors to a point as lots of them have come to business recently. For a large number this being their first taste of commercial life and its a bitter taste. Unified national trade federation comes to mind. That may mean getting into bed with big business, it is the only way to get a voice, become part of what a lot of people tried to avoid, be part of “the sustem” not free radicals. You could say play with the big boys.

  21. Vapers were asking about RDAs from the very first readings of the TPD and TRPR. The lack of clarity was obvious to all. So who threw light into the darkness? Nobody. Who should’ve thrown light into the darkness? Surely no one has more of a vested interest than the companies who want to sell their dripper products, yes?

    Manufacturers/agents have had a year to sort this out, by seeking clarification. The ignorance of the MHRA was obvious from the moment they were given authority. In the knowledge vacuum it should’ve been the manufacturers themselves who took up the baton and forced the issue. Pushing one or more RDA products through the process would’ve highlighted all the issues, after all, the MHRA have not been slow to issue clarifications and updates.

    Instead it appears that a head in a bucket of sand was the chosen approach. Maybe they thought if they said nothing the issue would go away? Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.

    Here’s my question. If three RDA products have been given DECLARED status already, meaning that they’re declared COMPLIANT by the producer, and four others are still UNDER REVIEW, where are all the other RDA products at in the process?

    Strikes me that the finger of blame is being pointed at the easy target. People just love to baa like sheep, cluck like chickens and throw up their hands in dismay … but it’s odd that nobody is pointing fingers at the manufacturers. Maybe they like the smell and taste of the sand or don’t give a rat’s arse for the pissant UK market …

  22. I see this as nothing other than a clear indication of how uninformed the legislators are. If there had been proper consultation and industry led statistical analysis then this legislation could of been implemented in a way to benefit the people. After all it falls to local authorities to enforce these rules and regulations and those are people we have elected.
    This report from you tonight Dean highlights the complete knee jerk reaction from the authorities on areas of a document put together by a government made up of Mp’s from countries other than our own. Forgetting the big Euro brexit crap this should of been written by expert consultation from researched evidence here. Now the vibrant healthy industry we are so proud of because of the lives it saves is hanging on vague script that no one really want to commit to. The travesty is that the most effective products to assist those who are giving up tobacco are not available to them. I feel incredibly fortunate that myself and my wife have gotten free from tobacco because of the superb support that not only the vendors give but the whole community provides. I congratulate us all and I know that despite the ridiculous situation now we will continue to help save lives through vaping.
    Thanks Dean for you time this evening trying to get clarification, as always you do all you can to serve the community.

  23. Not the end, but will take a while for RDA’s to be notified and ‘declared’.

    In theory according to the guidance, you could sell an RDA without a drip tip, and your good.

    1. Author

      Unfortunately not, even without the drip tip, the top of the atomiser would have a hole to put your lips around (ooer) – so the top cap becomes the ‘mouthpiece’ – they’ve definitely stayed away from saying ‘driptip’ potentially for that reason

      1. They are all going to have to be sold as small battery powered tea-kettles, perfect for camping trips or long distance car journeys (where the batteries can be re-charged from the cigarette lighter.
        More output from the 300ml RTA vicar?
        After all, with temperature insulation for the spout (mouthpiece) and a change of temperature regulation (a purely electro-mechanical function with many alternative uses) a kettle is simply a larger atomiser, although the liquid used is most commonly water.
        Either that or the MPs who voted all this complete bollocks through are going to stand charged with the intentional deaths of hundreds of thousands of their own citizens (not that our government has shied away from that), and “detained until such time as they can be handed over into the custody of a police constable” as the law so quaintly describes the process known to most as a citizens arrest, on the charge of genocide of all the smokers who could have been saved but for their meddling.
        If they declare war on us, we have a DUTY to fight back, and I’m sure the first casualties won’t be long in coming – I know of a few ex-vapers who’ve gone back to stinkies just from scare stories, so %deity% knows what the effect of making vaping less convenient or accessible than smoking will be.
        One characteristic of war is that casualties happen to both sides, and it’s time a few happened in Whitehall! Self-defence is not a crime, and never has been.

  24. TPD TRPR is a total cluster f#ck Dean as someone that works in the industry 30+ mins in to full regulation I still don’t know exactly what I can and can not do and I don’t think anyone in any position of authority does either, just trying to get any straight guidance is almost impossible soo frustrating

    1. Author

      I’m working hard to try and get more info, hopefully I’ll have some news soon 🙂

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