Brexit is here. And vapers might be at least partially responsible for it.
There are, after all, 2,500,000 vapers. When we surveyed over 1,000 of these individuals, 89% of them stated that the regulations introduced by the EU on electronic cigarettes would influence their vote, and 77% were worried about EU plans for introducing taxes on e-cigarettes.
In summary, it was 9% more likely for vapers to be undecided and 18% more likely that they would vote for leaving the EU.
What is in store for vaping in the future?
Numerous vapers are getting ready to celebrate.
Vapers have, after all, been battling with the EU for many years now. And whether or not Brexit turns out to be beneficial or not, the corruption, arrogance and inability to listen as part of the process showed them to be contributing factors to leaving.
(The government didn't help either, as Anna Soubry, a UK government minister, voted accidentally to ban e-cigarettes).
However, keep in mind that we are part of the EU still, and all of the e-cigarette regulations still are in effect.
Becoming disengaged from the EU - and determining which laws should be kept and which one eliminated - is a huge task that could take many years to complete.
And vapers as well as their allies will need to keep intense pressure on if we hope to get TPD removed.
For now, the best hope is perhaps hoping the UK government will really live up to its promise of implementing the TPD in a way that is more relaxed than it normally does.
As the Minster stated: the enforcement will be more like the Italians rather than the traditionally British way of doing things. UK attitudes have fortunately changed quite a bit since the government almost banned e-cigarettes in 2010. We also have an establishment that is fairly sympathetic to vapers.
However, we still need to expect that there will be some regulations even if the TPD ends up getting removed or amended. Vaping groups are going to need to lobby so that the regulations end up being sensible and also strike the proper balance between allowing for innovation and maintaining safety.
In the meantime, however, there is lots of work for vapers to do.
I talked to the 100K campaign's Ian Gregory, who said that he viewed the e-cigarette issue as a 'molehill clashing with mountains.' He said that in order to make progress, vapers would have to be a molehill that was very irritating.
He thinks that lobbying our MPs is going to be critical for progress to occur. One key moment that could help to frame the debate is the upcoming e-cig debate in July in the House of Lords. It was suggested by Ian that it would be a great time for lobbying your MP from the House of Commons prior to taking your place in the Visitor's gallery to watch the debate.
Another smart moving would be supporting vaping advocacy groups like Vapers in Power and the New Nicotine Alliance.
Taxes on Electronic Cigarettes
Another issue to be concerned about is taxes on e-cigs.
The EU had planned to introduce those taxes in 2017.
This is an idea that the UK treasury might be keen on in order to make up for all of the millions in tobacco excises it is losing. However, if we have officially left prior to the tax being enforced, it will make it more difficult for an establishment publicly recognizing the value of e-cigarettes to push through a tax.
How Brexit Will Impact Vaping Vendors
We may in for difficult times from a business perspective. Although most of the hardware for e-cigs is made in China, most purchases are made with dollars.
It has been estimated by some experts that the dollar could move to 1.05 against the pound.
Putting that into perspective, when we first began to retail e-cigarettes, we were purchasing dollars at about 1.90 against the pound.
If the pound ends up plummeting, e-cig companies will be facing having to make the difficult choice between either swallowing the pain or raising their prices within a highly competitive environment.
E-liquid manufactured in the UK might be affected as well (these ingredients must come from someplace!)
Retailers may also be faced with having to deal with a recession while having increased expenditures at the same time. Although a recession is unlikely to stop vapers from vaping, there could be changes in spending patterns, with vapors choosing budget e-liquid instead of premium e-liquid and avoiding higher priced mods altogether.
Whatever ends up happening, the next few months are sure to be very interesting!
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