Clive Bates: TPD Article 20 is ‘defacto protection’ for Big Tobacco

Former Director General of Wales, Clive Bates, is expressing outrage over TPD Article 20, claiming that the EU has “lost its way” regarding the vaping industry.  As the May 20, 2016 deadline approaches, Bates worries that Europe retailers may be facing the end of the Golden Age of Vaping.

One of the most controversial restrictions of Article 20 is the requirement for MRHA notification of all new vaping and e-cigs products.  According to Bates, the cost associated with this process is up to 4000 euros per product.  For manufacturers of e-liquids, the financial result will likely be catastrophic.

  • MRHA notification costs up to 4000-euros per product.
  • An MRHA notification is required for each brand, flavor combination, and strength level.
  • Retailers must notify all 28 countries in the European Union in some 26 different languages.
  • Each country has slightly different rules and informational requirements for notification resulting in a process that is not uniform and extremely complex.
  • MRHA notification must take place at least six months in advance of the product release.


A cost of 4000 euros for a single brand of e-liquid would already be enough to run most retailers out of business, but TPD Article 20 requires multiple MRHA notifications for a single brand offering different nicotine strength levels.  Meanwhile, the requirement to wait six months before releasing a new e-liquid or vape mod will essentially “stifle innovation” in the European vaping industry. 

For those retailers who can survive Article 20, all of those MRHA fees will be transferred to the vaping community by way of price increases.  Meanwhile, the legislation also places new restrictions on the size of e-liquid bottle sizes and on vaping tanks, which Bates says is essentially a ploy to make vaping devices more inconvenient and require more frequent refills that are now also more expensive.   

The pharmaceutical industry’s role in TPD Article 20

Bates goes on to say that the European nations have been discussing the imminent popularity of vaping technology since the early 2000s.  Many countries have been actively encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to create a safe and inexpensive device for public use.  But because these companies were primarily focusing on only vaping devices for delivering medications, they essentially dropped the ball.

“The problem, and I don’t really think it’s sunk in, is that in Europe, the United States, and Canada for that matter, is that a lot of what is done to regulate e-cigarettes is, in effect, a defacto protection of the incumbent industry, which is the cigarette trade.”
-Clive Bates

As a result, private citizens took action, designed their own products, and released them on the open market.  As the industry began to flourish, Big Tobacco tried to play “catch up” by offering their own versions of e-cigs and vaping products.  But it was already too late.  The vaping community had already banded together and demanded separation from Big Tobacco.  Since tobacco companies have such a high level of political and financial influence, governments around the world are creating legislation like TPD Article 20 in an attempt to keep Big Tobacco happy.

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