EUTPD regulations will improve market for convenience retailers, predicts e-cig producer
THE e-cigarettes market is about to get much simpler. That’s the view of manufacturer Blu, which has begun activity to prepare retailers for the impact of the European Union’s Tobacco Product Directive.
The regulation affects the marketing, production and sale of e-cigarettes, and will be introduced in three stages:
• 20 May 2016 – The introduction of advertising and restrictions, meaning manufacturers cannot advertise on TV or radio.
• 20 November 2016 – The production of all non-compliant stock must cease (affecting size, ingredients, consistency of dose and packaging with health warnings).
• 20 May 2017 – The sale of non-compliant stock will no longer be allowed.
However, retailers will still be able to sell compliant e-cigarettes and accessories, actively display them and promote them in store.
The fast-growing e-cigarette category has almost doubled in two years, with sales of £154m in the past year, according to Nielsen figures quoted by Blu.
However, with around 500 brands of varying quality currently on the market, it can be confusing for retailers and customers, it says.
Blu expects that the new legislation will lead to a reduction in the number of brands in the market and improvements in overall quality. It could also lead to the closure of many vaping stores and a reduction in online trade, as many products on offer through those channels will be illegal under new rules on sizes and ingredients.
It sees that as good news for convenience retailers, who, it argues, will be in a position to make the most of the opportunity by stocking recognised brands and increasing in-store promotion, building the trust of customers.
Marc Michelsen, SVP communications and public affairs at Blu, said: “Traditional tobacco is already a highly-regulated industry, so many retailers may have heard the news of legislation reaching the e-cigarette category with dismay.
“However, at Blu we welcome most of the changes – and we think retailers should too. We believe the legislation will improve the quality of products available in the market, leading to increased consumer trust and confidence in buying e-cigs.
“E-cigarettes offer retailers excellent profit margins so our message is simple – know how to recognize EUTPD compliant products, get your range right, understand the category so you can talk to your customers about it, and make the most of the sales opportunity on offer.”
Blu will provide legislation guides for retailers on e-cigs and vaping.