The other shoe has finally dropped across the sea in Europe.  The dreaded Tobacco Products Directive, including article 18 has been passed by a disturbingly comfortable margin

Image stolen from Twitter user @rorymorr

The TPD in general deals with… tobacco products in Europe and includes a few restrictions including only allowing cigarettes to be sold in packs of 20 (instead of 10, which is popular in some countries) as well as a flavor ban.  Menthol will also be banned by 2022.

However, it’s article 18 that deals with electronic cigarettes.  Despite a last-minute decision to put article 18 up for a separate vote, it was still easily ratified meaning a host of restrictions will be placed on e-cigarettes in the EU in coming years.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Nicotine limits of not more than 20mg/ml
  • e-Liquid can be sold in a maximum bottle size of 10ml
  • Tanks will be limited to 2ml of capacity or less
  • Tanks must be leak proof both for filling and use
  • Member states are free to require medical regulations for e-cigarettes

This ruling is a boon for companies that have stayed with the traditional e-cigarette with prefilled cartomizer  route (and big pharma). More independent companies and of course vapers in the Union have gotten a raw deal today. I expect it will also be a boon to black marketers for certain products as well.

 Update: My pals over at the Ashtray Blog put up a post about this ruling as well as some things Europeans might be able to do to turn this mess around.  You can check that out here.

Update 2: Clive Bates has an article that lays out all of the e-cigarette provisions of the TPD.