Vapers the world over are aware that their rights are under attack by egregious regulation and absurd taxes.Even just a quick search on Google for news mentions of “vaping” shows the huge amount of effort present to tax vaping gear both within the UK, the European Union, and internationally.
Most people are aware that the government of the United Kingdom and the European Union are actively working to further regulate vaping. However, many of them do not clearly understand the consequences of such regulation.. What exactly will all of these regulations to do vaping if its implementation is successful?
Banning of Most Vaping Gear
If current proposed EU-level regulations are implemented as-is, essentially all vaping products would be banned by mid-2016.
How does this happen?
The potential pitfall comes from the 2014 European Union Tobacco Product Directive. The TPD requires that all member states enact laws to comply, and includes a bevy of regulations such as:
- Tanks not to exceed 2ml.
- Must provide a consistent dose of nicotine.
- Ensurance of leak-free refilling.
- Submission of emissions data, construction, and other sorts of technical information to governing bodies.
In of themselves, these regulatory points may seem like mere inconveniences. “Sure, I can still get a sub-ohm tank, unfortunately it has to be <2ml capacity…no big deal”. However, once one dives into these regulations to understand their full impact, it becomes clear that there is a lot on the line.
Consider for example what “providing a consistent dose of nicotine” means. In theory, this would effectiely eliminate all variable-voltage, variable-wattage devices from the marketplace, because changing those settings changes the vapor, which in turn changes the nicotine dosage. And adjustments to airflow would do the same thing.
Further, consider the burdensome reporting requirements. The cost for companies to report emissions statistics to relevant governing bodies would be immense, if not totally impracticable for virtually all manufacturers.
Of course, there is the option for a manufacturer to gain certification under the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulation Agency. However, it is predicted that any given product would cost around ￡2 million to certify—without any actual guarantee that the product would pass certification!
So think about it deductively– what devices have no adjustment capabilities, are smaller than 2ml in capacity, and would be consistent enough to be worth the expenditure of supplying the huge data requirements to the government.
The answer, of course, is cigalikes, and perhaps basic eGo-style devices.
Let’s take a quick look at these devices:
Some examples include the Janty YentlRuyan v8. Of course, these are cigalike products; and in addition to their unfortunate status as cigalike products, many of them are of miserable quality–look especially at the Janty Yentl and see that it looks like something that could fall apart with barely any effort..
Usability is strongly inhibited. This starts with the battery capacity.–about 150mAh to 180mAh per battery. This means that you’ll be required to carry around 3 or 4 batteries in your pocket throughout the day. Further, these devices only use cartridges rather than refillable tanks, and tand possess extremely low quality atomizers. These combined leave a device that has no user customization abilities.
We looked at a forum thread on E-Cigarette-Forum about these old style ecigs. Here are some interesting comments left-
“The batteries were so small that you had to carry many around throughout the day”
“Cartridges were tubes you fitted onto the ends of atomizers. They were stuffed with aquarium fish-filter foam, into which you dripped maybe 0.3 – 0.4ml of liquid. Needless to say, you had to refill the cartrdiges quite frequently, so you carried at least one bottle of e-liquid with you”
“2 batteries, a dripping atomizer, 5 pre-filled cartridges, all for about $150”
“You had to order your eJuice from China, which back then could make you sick (first-hand experience)’ in turn, all the hassle would cause you to go back to smoking again”.
Regardless of the specific outcomes of regulation, taxes promise to be a huge obstacle for vaping gear in the future. In the European Union, cigarettes are taxed at a minimum mandatory 57% (while the VAT in most EU countries is only 20%). Taxation of ecig products has already happened in some EU countries such as Italy and Portugal.
A similar wave is seen in the United States, where local jurisdictions seek to impose huge taxes on electronic cigarettes. Notable examples include-
- 70% Tax on Vapor Products, tax rate will rise as city raises the cigarette tax, currently under consideration in Washington, DC
- 20 cents per ML tax on eliquid passed the Kansas Legislature.
- 5 cents per ml new tax likely to be imposed in Louisiana, which as CASAA points out, makes it easier to lead to future raises.
- Washington state – proposed 60% tax on vapor products. This proposed tax caused one of the largest eJuice producers—Mount Baker Vapor—to begin moving from Washington to Arizona.
It is quite possible that the taxes on vaping gear could essentially double their cost. For example, the 95% wholesale tax on ejuice in Minnesota in of nearly doubles the price of eJuice. If taxes are lumped into the taxes on standard cigarettes, this doubling in price is almost guaranteed.
What should vapers do to fight regulation?
It’s the duty of the entire vaping community to understand the regulatory prognosis and to take steps to oppose undue regulations.
We ask that all vapers stay up-to-date. You can do this by keeping current on various vaping advocacy resources. Some that we would recommend specifically include the New Nicotine Alliance.
Author of this article
John Fargo is the Director of Advocacy at Hookah Pen King. He writes extensively on vaping regulation issues.