Vapouround columnist Victor Mullin explains why he thinks this year will be the toughest ever for the vaping industry.
2020 is the year that changes everything.
We have all seen the news that came out of the United States in January about the clampdown on “closed system” pods and the banning of flavours (apart from tobacco and menthol) for those closed systems. The open system tanks, and e-liquid lines have thankfully (at least for now) not been touched.
However an impending deadline looms over the heads for our friends over in the US in the form of the Pre-Market Tobacco Application or PMTS for short.
The PMTS is essentially a directive which states that all “tobacco products” must be approved for general use via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The cost of submitting even one single e-liquid, let alone a whole line, is in the tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. The PMTA (at least at the time of writing) hits in May and could see the total collapse of the US industry if it goes ahead.
As bad as this looks for the industry, it is important to realise that it is not only in the US that things are getting dicey. This year the EU will be taking another look at the Tobacco Products Directive for what will eventually become the “TPD III” since we are already under the TPD II.
There are some hardline elements within the EU commission who want tougher and more stringent controls on both wings of the industry, the hardware and the liquids.
In one of my vlogs (I run a YouTube e-cigarette review channel for the folks that don’t know) I likened 2018 to everyone getting on the ship, 2019 as us all realising we are heading for an iceberg, and 2020 being the year we hit that iceberg.
This year is going to be one of the toughest years yet for vape shops, wholesalers and distributors, not just in the US, but also in the EU and the UK as well.
Even though the UK will be leaving the EU, the effects of more stringent controls on e-cigarettes in the EU (if it does happen) will have an effect for businesses here in the UK.
Now, more than ever, all elements of the UK and EU industry have to keep a close eye on what’s going on with the e-cig advocacy groups in their particular country within the EU. Groups like the New Nicotine Alliance cover the entire EU and the UK and is a great source for murmurings coming from within the European Union.
Even within the UK, the Scottish government will, sometime this year, have public hearings on whether Scotland should restrict all advertising (ALL advertising) to do with vaping and e-cigarettes. A total clampdown on e-cigarette advertising could have far-reaching consequences not just for Scotland, but for the UK as a whole. You can bet I will be at those hearings.
UK and EU businesses cannot afford to become complacent in 2020. If any lessons must be learned by what happened in the United States, its that complacency gives an open door to governments or “focus groups” to clamp down on something they don’t like.