The use of electronic cigarettes and the numerous other vaping variations continues to grow, but industry experts say the cost of compliance with the new regulations will thin the ranks.
May 20 marked the implementation date for a revised set of EU tobacco rules known collectively as the Tobacco Products Directive. The original TPD from 2001 gave way to TPD2 on that date, and it included rules for the vaping industry, a hitherto unregulated sector.
Packaging and labelling requirements were set, along with mandatory health warnings. Reporting requirements on sales and customers for manufacturers were instituted. New product notification to EU member states also was instituted. Cross-border advertising and promotions was restricted in the same way as for traditional tobacco products.
Those requirements and restrictions also apply to what the EU calls waterpipe tobacco, which henceforth is subject to all EU rules on tobacco products. Conditions were outlined under which EU member states could ban tobacco paraphernalia like hookahs, and the EU Commission was instructed to include a look at the use of flavours in shisha tobacco “no later than” 2021, when it delivers its assessment on the impact of TPD2.
“As regards waterpipe tobacco, which is often perceived as less harmful than traditional tobacco products for smoking, the full labelling regime should apply in order to avoid consumers being misled,” states TPD2.
“TPD2 is a good thing,” Chris Dodge, secretary general of the Global Vaping Association (GVA), told his audience at the Shisha meets Vapor Fair in Frankfurt. Regulating the vaping industry within the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive will wean out fly-by-night operators whose presence damages the industry as a whole, Dodge said.
“TPD2 isn’t the end of the world. It’s the end of the world for stupid people who do not deserve to be there.” In the US alone, more than 1,000 vapour companies are vying for a share of the market and, according to Dodge, “some of them don’t deserve to be there.”
When GVA announced its formation last November, it described itself as the world’s first international vaping association. Creating commonly accepted standards is a primary focus of the group, which is based in California with branches in the Czech Republic and Korea.
What the impact of regulations, both in Europe and the United States, will have on the hookah and vapour show that is becoming an annual staple won’t become evident until 2017. This year’s show added an extra day, making it a three day event, and moved to a larger hall in the sprawling Frankfurt exhibition centre.
“TPD2 is hanging over the hookah and vapour industry like a sword of Damocles,” the show organisers said in a welcome note to visitors. “There will be many changes. That is certain . . . but it is advantageous that there will be a common regulation, to which the industries can orient themselves.”
Tim Phillips, managing director at analysts ECigIntelligence, agreed there will be dramatic changes. In addition to the EU and the US, where the Food and Drug Administration is expanding its regulatory power to e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco, Phillips said China can be expected to regulate its vaping industry, possibly along the lines of what is adopted in the EU and US.
“Consolidation is definitely going to happen because of the impact of regulation,” said Phillips.
The US and Europe are the largest vaping markets. Phillips said sales in the US this year should reach USD 4 billion (EUR 3.5 billion) and about USD 3.5 billion in Europe.