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Is Your E-Cigarette TPD Compliant? Here’s How To Find Out…

TPD Compliance! TPD Regulations! TPD Sale!

For those of us who battled the EU over vaping laws (a battle which ended in a messy compromise), the term TPD has become part of our vocabulary.

And now the term TPD now seems to be used on every vaping website and forum!

But if you’re new to vaping, you might well find it confusing.

So in this post, in plain English, we’ll explain what the TPD is, how it affects you, and whether it matters if your e-cig is TPD compliant.

What is the TPD?

TPD stands for Tobacco Products Directive. Although designed to regulate the tobacco industry, the bill also deals with electronic cigarettes. You can find the e-cig specific regulations in Article 20 of the TPD.

TPD Article 20 has become the basis of new UK vape laws and regulations.

Companies which notified the MHRA (The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) about their existing products were allowed an extra 6 months to sell through all their stock.

But that extra time ends on May 20th 2017.

What does the TPD mean for vapers?

You’ll find a breakdown of how the TPD affects UK e-cigarette retailers here, but here’s a summary of some of the key points most likely to affect vapers.

10ml Limit On E-Liquid

The maximum size for e-liquid in a single bottle is now 10ml.

How will it affect vapers?

At TPD levels, research by Bernd Maye suggests the nicotine in e-liquid doesn’t carry any significant danger for vapers.

It will mean heavy users will have to frequently refill e-liquid. It may also increase the price (it costs more to produce three small bottles of e-liquid than one large bottle.) So far, though, most manufacturers seem to be swallowing the price increase.

2ml Limit on Tanks:

How does it affect vapers?

This will be frustrating for cloud chasers and heavy users, as it means all-too-frequent refills.

2% or 20mg/ml limit on nicotine levels:

How does it affect vapers?

This will make it harder for new vape users to switch, and make things difficult for around 200,000 vapers who prefer higher level nicotine.

However, improved devices are going a long way to address this. Modern vaping devices are a lot more efficient at extracting nicotine from e-liquid!

Extra packaging

All e-liquid must now come with warning labels. In practice, in most case this means that most e-liquid bottles will now come in boxes, as there is not enough room on the bottles for the warnings.

How does it affect vapers?

This has more of an impact on suppliers and the environment than on actual vapers. It does mean an increase in the amount of packaging. This has had packaging suppliers racing to produce enough material to repackage every e-liquid bottle in the UK, and in some cases has caused supply shortages!

Six months notification period

Officially new products must now be notified six months before they are allowed to be sold. However, it is possible to sell them before six months if the MHRA approves submissions early.

How does it affect vapers?

We see this as slowing down the pace of innovation, and making it more difficult for new suppliers to come on to the market.

All E-liquid must undergo emissions testing

How does it affect vapers?

Requiring all e-liquid be tested is not so bad for vapers.

It’s expensive (although not quite as bad as we originally feared), and I’ve been told the testing could be better designed. As a result, instead of abandoning our own testing, we now have a two tier testing system.

Having e-liquid tested, even imperfectly, is better than no testing. It also levels the playing field between responsible manufacturers and cowboy suppliers.

How do I know if my e-liquid is TPD compliant?

TPD Compliant E-Liquid is:

  • In a bottle not larger than 10ml.
  • Contained in a box.
  • Comes with a warning leaflet.
  • The nozzle must be at least 1 cm long, and emit no more than 20 drops a minute.
  • All e-liquids must have an ECID (European Community Identification Number) and be registered on the MHRA website.
  • Comes with a warning stating:

This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.

Apart from the MHRA notification, these are all just clues. In theory it wouldn’t be too difficult for someone to copy all this without notifying the product to the MHRA or carrying out testing.

However, you can check to see if your e-liquid (or tank) is registered with the MHRA. To do that:

That will download an excel file, although it’s not always easy to find the exact e-liquid/supplier you are looking for.

How do I know if my tank is TPD compliant?

TPD compliant tanks:

  • Contain a maximum of 2ml e-liquid.
  • Must have an ECID and be registered on the MHRA website.
  • Come with a warning label stating that:

This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.

As tanks don’t contain nicotine until they get in your hands, Trading Standards advise a second warning that essentially warns that the first warning is incorrect:

The following warning applies when the product is used with e-liquids containing nicotine.

However, many products which have been submitted do not yet have this second warning.

The atomiser in compliant tanks will also have undergone emissions testing. The only way to check this has been done is to look up the atomiser on the MHRA site.

What about TPD Mods and Batteries?

Don’t worry – e-cig mods and batteries are not included in the TPD.

The only problem we see is that using your high powered battery on a 2ml capacity is going to mean a lot of refilling!

What’s going to happen to current vape products?

If you’ve been vaping a while, it’s clear that a huge range of tanks will not be compliant.

Some have been redesigned for the TPD, but many will disappear from the (legal) marketplace.

Fortunately, there are some great new products coming on the market. Initially, the product range may be limited but you’ll probably see the range expand rapidly.

Is everyone going to comply with the new e-cig regulations?

Probably not, at least initially.

There are plenty of shops out there that are breaking existing e-cig regulations (mixing e-liquids in their shop, selling to under-18’s e.t.c.)

The word in the street is that Trading Standards is taking it easy until May 20th, but at some point we’ll see some kind of crack down, as we’ve seen with other e-cig regulations (see New E-Cig Age Restrictions.)

The big question is whether Trading Standards has the resources to police the TPD effectively. Probably not, but with some companies making huge investments into compliance, you will see a lot of industry self-policing.

Does it matter if your tank or e-liquid is compliant?

Yes and no.

(Don’t you love a simple answer!)

Much of it intensely irritating – and seems designed to deliberate hinder both vapers and vape businesses.

However, e-liquid testing should be reassuring. The chances of getting something harmful in e-liquid will be reduced (and testing from existing e-liquid has been very reassuring).

Another concern you might have with non-compliant products.

The sort of seller deliberately flouting the law and selling illegal tanks and e-liquid is also the sort of seller who probably doesn’t care most about quality, safety – and your health.

How do you feel about the TPD? Let us know in the comments below!

Next up:

Brexit: What Does It Mean for Vapers?

13 thoughts on “Is Your E-Cigarette TPD Compliant? Here’s How To Find Out…”

  1. How will this affect people who make their own e liquids? Will we still be able to buy the bases in 1 l form or will we have to buy them in 10ml form?

    1. Hi John, we’re working on a post for this, so hope to have more info soon, but I believe that legally you won’t be able to buy nicotine base in individual quantities of 10ml.

  2. joseph whetton

    Having to get the correct guidance from the right authorities is a mare if they don’t know what chance do retailers have ?
    Can we remove a non TPD tank from a kit and just sell the battery then give them a 3ml tank F.O.C and or give them a pre TPD 30ml F.O.C.
    The MHRA list of e liquids pending is in the 100s can they really COPE !!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Joseph

      I can’t see any problem with removing a battery and selling it separately, because batteries don’t fall under the TPD. We do advise giving out a leaflet with every e-cig battery advising best practice (this is both good for consumers and will also make your insurance company happy.)

      I haven’t seen any clear guidelines on giving away e-liquid/tanks free of charge, I’m afraid, it could probably be argued either way!


  3. joseph whetton

    Thanks James that seems to be the view of my fellow retailers. I suppose over the coming weeks and months things will iron themselves out and no one wants to make the news being the first one to fall foul……..

  4. Hi James,

    Just wanted to comment on this “there is not enough room on the bottles for the warnings”

    We’ve seen a lot of manufacturers order peel and reseal labels in order to fit all the information now needed.

    1. Good point, Mark. We don’t sell any e-liquid with diacetyl, but to make doubly sure we send all new e-liquids off for additional testing. On occasion we have found small amounts of diacetyl (we won’t sell these unless the manufacturer reformulates the flavour, which they usually do when we tell them). So I think the answer is it can happen, although it is likely to be very small amounts, and not as much as in cigarettes (you can see a comparison of the amount of diacetyl in e-liquid and cigarettes here:

  5. Have had to cancel bank card l had got the starter kit had not received any more from them checked my account almost £200 taken for June and July

  6. what a con Government trying to make more money out of us it all cost’s it was fine before i would rather my son vape then smoke how stupid is this the uk is naffed its over time to leave i think LOL they dont have the force to do it pettey crime so your still get it all from the shop iv got one down my way just brought a tfv12 from them and 6 coils ITS better then drugs 😉

  7. From what store’s can I buy All my ger and dont mind the law,cause here where I live ( Serbia ) there are no such a law thank god!

  8. Fantastic informations you have here – thanks. It seems that the Danish goverment do it differently here than i UK. Notifying one product (one taste and one strenght), cost GBP 4.600 and GBP 2.300 the following year(s). So even with just 20 different products, this is a huge amount…! Also advertising of e-cigarettes are totally banned here in Denmark.

    Anyways: as an advertising agency/consultant, I am working for a smaller e-cigarette chain with 3 shops. And since the authorities, who suppose to be handling the TPD here in Denmark do´t really have a clue about TPD, I was hoping you could share a few experience from UK.

    1: are e-cigarettes in UK considered as a “tobacco product”?
    – I ask because the banned advertising of e-cigarettes here because of that.

    2: are NON-NICOTINE e-cigarettes identified as products that are Tobacco related and therefore subject to the Tobacco Products Regulations and must be notified to the MHRA before they can be sold.
    I ask because my costumer was told this from one person at the Danish “MHRA” (here called “Sikkkerhedsstyrelsen”) which said this was how she read the TPD!!

    It would be highly appreciated if you have answers to this and even better with a link to th UK rules, since we could use that against the Danish authorities.

    Thanks in advance and best regards

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