It is not so unusual to see people vaping in the UK today. Many people are switching in the hope of being able to give up smoking altogether. Yet the future of this alternative to smoking is somewhat cloudy.
According to Public Health England, e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than regular cigarettes. However even with this encouraging news being revealed, the future of e-cigarettes could be wrapped up in legislation sooner than we may think.
Regulation, regulation, regulation
Well it was only going to be a matter of time before those in control decided to wrap the industry in layers of regulation. And now it is happening – and in a big way too.
Look up vaping regulation online and you’ll find results pertaining to regulatory controls in the US, the UK and across the EU among other areas. The UK, as part of the EU (for good or for bad, depending on your view) is covered by the contentious and controversial 2014 EU Tobacco Products Directive. The original version of this law is over a decade old. However, those in charge in the EU have now decided e-cigs should be included under this directive.
That’s despite e-cigs not containing any tobacco at all.
Not surprisingly, many people have disagreed with the regulation. One company, Totally Wicked, has launched a case that is now going to the European court of justice in the hope of successfully challenging these new laws. The EU law is set to come into force in May 2016.
Vaping is being banned in some quarters
Look a little closer (again, there are plenty of news stories online about vaping) and you will also find stories about vaping being banned. The National Park Service in America is going to ban vaping in all the places that regular smoking is currently banned. Clearly it equates one with the other.
Airports across the UK have also banned vaping anywhere in their buildings. Southern Trains also jumped on board a short while ago, banning the use of e-cigarettes on their trains as well. Other train companies got there before them, including Virgin and Northern Trains.
Could EU laws put many manufacturers out of business altogether?
The strict nature of the EU laws that will come into force next year look set to put smaller manufacturers out of business. The cost of complying with the rigorous legislation looks to be too much for many businesses. This is likely to leave only the biggest players in the marketplace left to continue trading.
As it stands, lots of things look set to be banned completely – refills larger than 10ml and e-liquids with a strength of more than 20mg to name just two. And very likely far fewer liquids and flavours will be available as well, thanks to the hoops the manufacturers will have to jump through.
We suspect higher prices and less choice might come to the vaping market. Perhaps most worrying of all is the reality that more people might just carry on smoking instead. Watch this space.