The success of the Brexit vote on June 20 finally allows the Brits to officially leave the European Union (EU), but what does this mean to the British vaping community? In recent weeks, UK vape shops have been struggling to overcome the crippling Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) recently issued by the EU which threatens to increase consumer prices and stagnate technological progress. With the success of the Brexit vote, many vapers were instantly and understandably jumping for joy.
However, immediately after the announcement, UK Prime Minister David Cameron issued his resignation, the stock market crashed, and many Brits were beginning to wonder if they had made a huge mistake. After digging a bit deeper, our friends across the pond soon discovered that extricating themselves completely from the grasp of the EU will take Great Britain at least two full years, according to most political insiders. Is vaping in the UK now in limbo until the whole mess is resolved?
Does the EU Brexit mean that UK retailers must still adhere to the TPD?
Many in the British vaping community supported the Brexit move. After all, the TPD was largely viewed as bogus EU legislation that was in direct conflict with current UK attitudes on e-cigs and vaping. For months now, the UK’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has been making headlines around the world for stating that all federal governments should be shouting about the health benefits of e-cigs every chance that they get, instead of trying to pass legislation that would essentially drive the entire vaping industry underground.
But the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive attempts to regulate the British vaping community out of existence by requiring a very expensive and highly complex MRHA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) notification process, which is strikingly similar to the Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) process of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But unlike the American version, British retailers must submit the EU application to 28 different countries in nearly as many different languages. Understandably, the British vaping community wanted to be rid of the EU and its silly regulations once and for all.
What’s next for UK vapers after the EU Brexit?
News broke about the Brexit approval on a Friday morning, and by day’s end, the British pound had plummeted to a 31-year low. The U.S. stock market fell an astonishing 610 points, and the Brexit panic wiped an astonishing $2 trillion off of the global economic map within hours. As most leading economists anticipated this volatility to continue for several weeks or perhaps even years, most also predicted that Britain’s departure from the EU will ultimately prove beneficial in the long run. It just may be a bit temporarily painful, financially speaking.
However, if the drop in value of the British pound remains consistent, vapers might begin to witness a slight increase in prices from local vape shops. They might also begin to have difficulty locating their favorite products and e-juices, but this should only last for a very short time. British vape shop owners have been wanting this Brexit for a very long time. And they are probably more than willing to sacrifice a few short-term profits for the long-term peace of mind that comes with a new Great Britain post-TPD and post-EU.