Monday 7 August 2017

Slow Handclap For The TPD

It's been another hectic week for your humble host. Quite apart from business pressures, I've found myself variously in Norwich, Brighton, rural Essex and Shrewsbury in the past few days. I will write about the Norwich leg later in the week but the Shrewsbury jaunt was for a weekend at Vapefest 2017.

It's kinda like this at Vapefest (photo from here)
I stayed in a marvellous three-bedroom house with some friends who will be known to you if you follow on Twitter, and a good time was had by all. But I think it's worth commenting on the remarkable difference between previous events (this was my third) and the 2017 version.

On the journey up the M1, my travelling companion and I had discussed how this year's Vapefest might handle the imposition of the TPD on May 20th this year. When we arrived, it instantly became very clear because it has fundamentally changed the nature of the place.

Previously, vendors would be giving out small free samplers - mostly with no nicotine although sometimes with - but these were noticeably absent this year. The TPD has put paid to that little avenue of pleasure.

There was also very little buzz around stalls selling new hardware. There were mods and new batteries but why would anyone wish to purchase a new piece of kit now the ignorant hysterical fuckspanners in tobacco control have persuaded the EU to demand limiting tank size to a risible 2ml? A lot of focus at Vapefest is sub-ohm devices running at high wattage to maximise flavour at a low nicotine level, which means that 2ml will last about the time it takes to read the stories of any interest in your free local newspaper; you'd be filling the thing every half hour or so.

However, what was most striking is that the stall-holders had almost abandoned selling pre-mixed nicotine-containing e-liquid altogether! Yes, you could buy 10ml TPD-compliant bottles but I didn't see many people doing that. In previous years 30ml, 60ml, and even 100ml bottles of ready-to-vape liquids were available at advantageous festival prices, but - of course - the TPD has ensured that those size bottles are now banned.

So the upshot is that the industry has moved to selling the concentrates (flavours) instead, to be mixed by vapers themselves. Just think about that for a moment. By observing their absurd 'precautionary principle' to supposedly protect vapers and children from the overblown dangers of nicotine in e-liquid, tedious shroud-waving tobacco controllers and their dim weasel-headed EU pals have created a situation whereby liquids are not mixed in a clean environment by professionals, but instead in kitchens up and down the country by vapers buying illicit nicotine base from China ... because you can't get that in anything over 10ml bottles either.

Instead of pharma-grade nicotine being mixed in sterile conditions with professional equipment, it is now being mixed in houses and flats using a Kenwood Chef and nicotine stored in domestic freezers, in whatever bottles are available, by people with varying levels of competence at mixing DIY juice.

Still, regulation is always a good thing, some would say. It's for safety, innit.

The government is looking for easy 'wins' following Brexit, there's one for them, right there in the TPD. What a clusterfuck. 

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