I attended Vapefest in Shrewsbury at the weekend. Although I had a good time, it was certainly much flatter than it was last year. I don't know if it was because of the weather forecast, or the law of diminishing returns, but there were significantly fewer people attending compared to last year.
Another noticeable difference from last year was the way e-liquid manufacturers were selling their wares. Last year, you could buy bottles in a variety of sizes, the most popular being 30 ml, 50 ml, and 100 ml. All were sold, of course, at reduced prices - what you expect at a festival. This year, thanks to the EU's Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), the largest sized bottle of e-liquid containing nicotine you could buy was a measly 10 ml. Please note, I said containing nicotine. There's always a way around a problem, and the way around it highlights the stupidity of the TPD.
You could buy bottles of Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG), in large bottles ready to mix yourself. Because they don't contain nicotine, that it perfectly legal. All you need to do then is buy your nicotine and make it up to the strength you require. Some companies even sold 10 ml bottles of nicotine, which of course is TPD compliant. Alternatively, you can purchase nicotine online from China, as highlighted by the blogger, Dick Puddlecote. No such thing as a TPD there!
Thanks to EU meddling, supposedly reducing bottle sizes for safety reasons - not that anyone can work out how a 100 ml bottle containing nicotine with a childproof lid is anymore dangerous than many chemicals we have in our kitchen cupboards in similar containers - we now have a growth in DIY e-liquid production. Instead of buying ready made liquid, carefully mixed together in laboratories, we now have people having a go in their kitchens at home.
If you know what you are doing, then there shouldn't be a problem, but there are plenty of people who don't have a clue. From an EU perspective, if you want to ensure the quality of e-liquid sold remains at a high standard, surely the best way to do it is to encourage people to buy it ready mixed from an established and trusted manufacturer?
Not only does the TPD mean reduced margins for manufacturers because they have to buy more bottles, labels, and use more packaging, more people across the country are now mixing liquid themselves, possible with children around them. Yet another reason, as if we needed another one, why these pointless, and at times downright dangerous, restrictions in the TPD need to go once we leave the EU.