In a nutshell, the TPD is the set of EU regulations covering sales of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, snus and e-cigarettes.

The TPD was originally created in 2001, but was revised in 2014 to include e-cigarettes. Each member state had to transpose the requirements of the TPD into their own law by May 20, 2016, and the U.K. did this through the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR).

We’ll cover the specific provisions of the TPD in a moment, but it’s important to remember that individual countries can go further than the bare minimum requirements if they choose to (sometimes called “gold plating”). For example, while the TPD doesn’t ban specific flavors, individual member states have the ability to do that if they take a very anti-vaping stance. And some have. For example, Finland will only allow tobacco flavored e-liquid.

Other countries are going beyond the minimum requirements in other ways, too. For example, both Austria and Poland are banning online sales, which will be absolutely devastating to vapers, smokers, and the industry in those countries.

Fortunately, the U.K. has opted for a bare minimum implementation of the rules. Unfortunately, that “bare minimum” is still excessive and counterproductive. The red tape is thick and sticky.