The revised EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) Article 20 has come into force Every day we are being asked the question – “How do I get compliant labels for our e-liquids?” It seems, as with many EU Directives, clarification and clear guidelines allude us.
The 20th May 2017 deadline has passed, the sky hasn’t fallen but uncompliant e-liquid should, in theory, are no longer. Everything must now be in order, the leftover stock will likely either be discarded or sold at bargain basement prices. The e-liquid industry has come up with some solutions to 10ml maximum bottle size, and we have come up with e-liquid packaging supplies to help them.
We have researched and read as much information as we can find on the implications of the TPD. Whilst we are happy to offer advice and guidance on the packaging and labelling aspects of the TPD we tend to signpost our customers to the Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) and the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), who is the Competent Authority for TPD in the UK, if they are looking for non-label specific advice and guidance.
Anything we write about TPD does not constitute legal advice, it is just our understanding of the current situation.
The TPD and Labelling Requirements
When it comes to professionally printed e-liquid labels these are what we believe to be the key points:
- Only E-liquids that contain nicotine are covered by the TPD
- E-liquids with a nicotine content of over 2% will not be allowed
- If your e-liquid contains nicotine then it cannot be sold in bottle sizes greater than 10ml
- You have a period of grace until May 2017 to sell your “old stock” of larger bottles of e-liquid
- There will be stricter testing of e-liquids with every flavour subjected to an emissions test and a notification process with the MHRA.
- The notification process for new flavours comes into effect from 20th May 2016.
- There is a period of grace for notification of existing flavours until November 2016.
TPD Packaging Solutions
The biggest issue that we have come across is that selling a single 10ml bottle with all the information that is now needed is completely impossible on a single ply label.
- The Peel and Reveal label
The Peel and Reseal label, also known as a Peel and Read label or 2-ply label offers three surfaces for print – the front of the label, the inside of the front and the revealed surface. This has become the go-to label for all the major e-juice companies.
Having been supplying Peel and Reveal labels for many years to customers in the beauty and healthcare sectors where labelling has to fulfil many different functions. The challenge was a 10ml bottle has a tighter circumference and no flat surface. This meant we had to get a little clever with the construction but now we’ve perfected it and print millions with a fully integrated tactile.
The Peel and Reveal label has offered an ideal solution for e-juice manufacturers who are producing e-liquids containing nicotine. With enough space for all the information needed, warning symbols and messages, ingredients list and the rest of text included on the inside you still have space for your branding. The problem of selling one 10ml bottle is solved for now.
- The Patient Information Leaflet & Carton
The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), or Product Information Leaflet, is printed on thin paper. At this time 04-05-2017 doesn’t need to be pharmaceutical grade paper. This can be folded down into 16 pages to achieve a finished size of approximately 30mm x 30mm.
You can choose from single or multi-fold or perforated options. This precision printed and folded document can then be easily fitted into a carton.
The PIL offers all the space needed to list health warnings and ingredients as well as instructions for use and your own branding. This means that you will only need a single ply label with a tactile on your bottle.
In the UK PILs have been a legal requirement for companies supplying over‑the‑counter and prescribed medication since 1999. We have years of experience of supplying this solution for companies in the pharmaceutical sector and know how effective they can when content is driven by legislation.
- Printed Cartons Options
Cartons have been used in the e-liquid industry for a while, we have spent the lots of time getting to know what cartons you needed printing. Our conclusions:-
– Cartons that fit an individual bottle and a PIL
– Cartons fitting three bottles and a PIL
– Ready made sale boxes, that can contain them both.
If you already have the single ply or peel and reseal labels un-tactiled they will need the clear triangle warning label applied.
Still, have a supply of larger bottles? One idea doing the rounds is to sell a 10ml nicotine shot with a larger bottle of flavoured juice.
Use variable print labels and a thermal transfer printer to print the strength on labels for those e-liquid flavours that are currently over 2%.
If you are about to place an order, read the EU directive here now it’s likely that this will be cut and pasted into UK legislation so it’s the most accurate thing we have now.
Request a sample of our Peel and Reveal Labels to assess how they could work for you.
The TPD and Advertising
According to the Department of Health, it will be against the law to advertise or promote those products covered by the TPD directly or indirectly in the following media:-
- TV including on-demand TV
- Display adverts on the internet
- Commercial e-mail
- Text messages
- Newspapers, magazines and periodicals with the exception of trade publications
- Certain types of sponsorship and product placement.
An update posted on the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) on 16th February 2016 states that they have received an increase in enquiries on the effect of the TPD legislation. Whilst they wanted to provide clarity they make the following statement: “the legislative picture is still developing and is complex because of the products which are (and are not) affected, the varying likely impact of the law on ads in different types of media and because of the differing approach being taken by the Scottish Government to the rest of the UK.”
It would appear that the confusion continues to reign!
The CAP state that from their understanding of the legislation, except in Scotland, the following media are unlikely to be subjected to the advertising ban:
- Outdoor media such as posters and livery on buses
- Cinema advertising
- Direct hard copy mail
- Information on marketers’ own websites
A number of our customers have expressed concern over exactly what they will be able to print on the labels for their e-liquid bottles once the legislation comes into force. With around 7000 flavours for vapers to choose from the market for e-liquid is highly competitive. Manufacturers and suppliers use the packaging of their products to help their brand stand out from the crowd – the labels have been a key element of their marketing. There are fears that TPD will change all that.
If the legislation goes the same way as tobacco products then potentially all the creative elements of the labelling – the branding and key messages – will have to be hidden from view. There is an added complication for e-liquid. The limitations on the size of bottles that can be used means the space available on the label is just a fraction of the size of a cigarette packet. The reality is that it will be a struggle to show the health warnings and the list of ingredients on a 10ml bottle label let alone any marketing information!
Please get in touch, call Philippa on 01440 712273, we are always happy to help.