Why the tobacco products directive was good for the e-cigarette market
On the 19th May 2014, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force in the UK. The directive also became applicable across EU member states on the 20th of May, 2016.
The TPD was introduced for a number of reasons, most of which revolve around raising awareness of the potential dangers associated with tobacco products, particularly for children.
Here are some of the most important changes the Tobacco Products Directive forced on the tobacco market, and how it’s impacted consumers:
Cigarette packs are now a standardised shape
Cigarette packs used to come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Not only did the government think some of these boxes were aimed at encouraging underage children to smoke, but it also made it confusing to know how many cigarettes were in a box at first glance.
The TPD passed legislation that stated all packets of cigarettes, regardless of the brand have to now be in the same size box. There also has to be at least 20 cigarettes in each pack. The legislation changed packaging guidelines, so it must now be plain and include large health warnings about the dangers of smoking.
These changes were primarily aimed as discouraging new and underage smokers by:
- Making the packaging less appealing to youths (e.g. no more slim “lipstick” style packs)
- Larger, more graphic health warnings now have to be displayed on packs of cigarettes
- The cheapest pack of cigarettes is now more expensive, making it harder for youngsters to buy the in small amounts
- Plain packaging removes “brand appeal”
New anti-illicit-trade measures were put in place
It’s estimated that one in 10 cigarettes sold in the UK and done so on the black market and that number was on the rise before the TPD.
While it’s not clear how much of an impact the directive had on illicit cigarette sales, there were some measures put in place to try and reduce the number being sold on the black market.
A hologram now has to be placed on the packaging to crack down on counterfeiting. There is also a track-and-trace scheme in place to help authorities track tobacco products along the supply chain.
Increased transparency on ingredients
The TPD dictated that manufactures of tobacco products – and this applies to the “novelty” products in particular – have to run their full ingredient list past the TPD before being given the green light to sell their products.
This is one of the best changes to come out of the directive. It gives the TPD the chance to evaluate how safe a product is, along with enforcing consistent guidelines, on new products hitting the market.
No one wants to see misleading advertising. Even the strongest advocates behind tobacco-related products want to see honest, and fair advertising campaigns.
The TPD is now responsible for reviewing all tobacco-related advertising. They have the power to ban any adverts or marketing they believe to be “promotional and misleading”.
What this means for the cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the future
Some manufacturers and distributors are not happy with the Tobacco Products Directive and all of the extra measures that have been put in place.
There are some valid arguments surrounding the disruption and added costs being passed onto manufacturers of tobacco-related products.
It can’t be ignored, however, that these measures were put in place to make the tobacco market a safer place for sellers and consumers.
Such changes are never going to please everyone. But the bottom line is that if the TPD helps raise the standards within the tobacco industry and makes products safer for everyone, the extra steps and costs to get a product to market are worth it.