The Perversity of Government

Okay I understand Governing a country isn’t easy – there are competing political pressures from many sides and the modern economy is working in an integrated complex world economy.

I also understand that politicians have differing and various agenda’s and are influenced by many factors.

BUT take a look at the ongoing proposed legislation debate, rumour in the electronic cigarette industry and you will despair as to how any small entrepreneur can plan in this industry.

Within the same month that Public Health England concluded that, on “the best estimate so far”, e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes (,) we have another arm of government trying to implement the Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) produced by the EU and intended to be operational in 2016.

Just to give you a flavour of what the TPD expects every producer and manufacturer to do.

  • Any new product, both batteries and liquids must be notified to the Government 6 months before they can go on sale after the introduction of the TPD
  • Every existing product must be notified to the Government 6 months before the introduction of the TPD
  • A list of all components and ingredients at any part of the manufacturing process must be traceable, accountable and documented and available to the Government.
  • No product can have a refill of nicotine more than 10 ml
  • The nicotine-containing liquid may not contain nicotine in excess of 20 milligrams per millilitre
  • Each unit packet and any container pack of the electronic cigarette or refill container must carry a health warning consisting of the text: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for use by non-smokers”, in a manner which conforms with paragraph (5).
  • The health warning must –

    • appear on both the front and back surfaces of the unit packet and any container pack;
    • cover 30% of the area of each of those surfaces, calculated in relation to the area of the surface concerned when the pack is closed;
    • be in black Helvetica bold type on a white background;
    • be in a font size which ensures that the text occupies the greatest possible proportion of the surface area reserved for it; and
    • appear at the centre of that area.
    • Where other text appears on the surface concerned, the health warning must be parallel to that text, or if there is more than one piece of text, the most prominent text.

And by the way – although this potential legislation will already impact on our existing manufacturing and planning processes – the politicians are very likely to change their minds at the last minute and completely change how they intend to impose any legislation.