British plans for comprehensive legislation on e-cigarettes could be published as early as January 2015, according to a new report from ECigIntelligence.
The country is already looking at the legislation necessary to transpose the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) into UK law. Debate and action on this is likely to happen later next year – following national general elections in May.
Contrary to some reports, the UK looks like it is poised to pursue a twin-track regulatory approached, the report adds. This means that it will continue to allow some e-cigarettes to be sold as FMCG products, much as today, although subject to greater restrictions in areas such as advertising and sampling – as stipulated in the EU’s TPD.
Medical regulation will only be required if the manufacturers of products want to make a health claim, the report added.
This is good news for tobacco companies, which led a flurry of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the UK market earlier in 2014. The companies, which bought brands such as Ten Motives, VIP and Nicolites, were attracted to the growing British sector and its continued preference for cigalikes.
ECigIntelligence’s report estimates that cigalikes currently make up approximately 60% of the UK e-cigarette market. Big Tobacco prefers the product “not only because of its physical form, but also because it fits well with their existing marketing and distribution channels”, the report says.
What This Means: The UK market continues to be one of Europe’s most important, but also shows as many similarities to the U.S. as it does to its continental neighbours – such as its continued preference for cigalikes over tank systems.
However, there are signs that the market could be shifting to favour the tank systems popular in countries such as Germany and France. Read ECigIntelligence’s report to find out what this means for the overall UK e-cigarette sector in terms of regulation, M&A and future market growth.
– Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff