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If You Smoke E-Cigarettes, Do You Know How TPD Will Affect You?

02/05/2017 13:42 BST | Updated 02/05/2017 13:42 BST

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Photo Credit: Pexel

I'm a ex-smoker - the worst kind. I've been there, done it, quit and will pontificate on the joys of not smoking to anyone who is foolish enough to listen. If I close my eyes I can still remember my very first cigarette, aged 11 - a pilfered Silk Cut, stolen from the packet of my friend's mother. I smoked in my teenage years, much to my mother's consternation. I smoked throughout my time in the military - in fact it was a viable excuse to get out of doing any work (the British Army being built on tea and fag breaks.)

On my last tour of Afghanistan I knew it was time to kick the habit once and for all, and so I went to the camp doctor and was prescribed a quit-aid: something akin to a tampon applicator with a suppository sized nicotine capsule that was to help me give up the weed. And it worked. That and sheer bloody mindedness. There weren't any vaping (e-cigarette) devices then to assist with the transition, but my god, one would have been welcomed with open arms.

As far as I can tell, vaping is the answer to the tobacco conundrum - those invested in the tobacco industry will definitely shout me down (very loudly), but when the NHS is having to deal with 1.7 million smoking related admissions a year (costing approximately £5bn a year), surely the answer is blindingly obvious?

Vaping (for the non-smoker) provides a welcome relief from the fug of acrid smoke that lingers long after the exhaler has moved on, in my opinion, everyone is a winner. As a middle ground between smoking and not smoking, there hasn't been an option like this, ever. There are cessation aids (as I mentioned previously), but the majority of people who switch to e-cigarettes aren't necessarily looking to quit and given the difficulties of lighting up in our nanny state, having the ability to have your cigarette and smoke it must provide a welcome relief (don't get me started on those do-gooders trying to ban vaping in public places, seriously, get a hobby).

TPD - Tobacco Products Directive (what does it mean?)

Significant changes (stipulated by the EU) to the vaping industry were put into place last May, allowing a year's transition before the whole industry had to fully comply. And as of 20 May 2017, those who have come to rely on vaping as a means to make it through the day, might be in for a bit of a shock.

What are these changes? Well, in a nutshell the e-cigarette industry is being regulated (which is not necessarily a bad thing). The bad thing comes when your current weapon of choice is larger than the 'new' maximum sized tank of 2ml, or you're used to vaping e-liquid in higher nicotine strengths than the 'new' maximum of 20mg/ml (if this applies to you, you have less than a month to stock pile old supplies). The flip side of this directive? There will now be minimum safety and quality standards on all vaping equipment - who wouldn't want that?

Yes big changes are a foot, but in a previously unregulated industry which sees a phenomenal 2.8 million adults using e-cigarettes (the vast majority of whom are either smokers already (1.4m), or ex-smokers (1.3m) it's a big market and it needs regulating. Sometimes change is a good thing.