While most attention has been paid to the effects of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) within individual markets, it also imposes new demands on cross-border sellers.
The directive does not specifically ban the sale of e-cigarettes and related products between member states. It leaves such regulation up to individual countries’ own legislation. And this has implications for sales, packaging, advertising and taxation, as detailed in a special report from ECigIntelligence, “Q&A: how cross-border distance sales are regulated across the EU”.
Cross-border distance sales are defined as sales made via the internet, telephone, TV, fax or catalogue to a customer in a different EU state from the retailer. The laws governing the legality of this vary from state to state.
For example, a UK retailer is not allowed to sell and ship to a customer in Greece, but a Greek retailer can sell and ship to a customer in the UK.
Any retailer based in an EU member state who wishes to sell to customers in any other country in the European Economic Area (EEA – the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) must be registered. There are also varying requirements for sellers to verify the age of potential customers.
Individual countries may have different regulations regarding specific ingredients and flavours, meaning some e-liquids can be sold legally in some countries and not in others.
Retailers need to be aware of national taxes in the countries they sell to as e-cigarettes are not subject to a pan-European excise tax.