Russia: Bill 310882-8 on the regulation of production and circulation of tobacco and nicotine-containing products has passed its third reading in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, and now heads to the Federal Assembly. Among other things, it would introduce state licensing of production, storage, import and export of tobacco and nicotine-containing products, including raw materials. It would also establish mandatory state registration of the main technological equipment used for the production of such products. If adopted, licensing will be mandatory from 1st March 2024.
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Dominican Republic: The minister of public health called on young people yesterday, World No Tobacco Day, to stop using e-cigarettes. He said “their effects are related to multiple ailments because they contain toxic agents that can cause complications in the respiratory tract, lungs, and even cancer”.
Spain: European Parliament members (MEPs) Nicolás González Casares and Domènec Ruiz Devesa of the Spanish Socialist Party, have urged the European Commission to regulate novel tobacco products, press reports. González Casares said “the new tobacco devices seek to create a new generation of addicts using electronic elements”. The two MEPs have jointly sent two formal questions to the Commission: the first about the discrepancies among EU countries on public vaping restrictions, calling for an EU-wide ban; the second seeking an explanation for the delay in the review of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and denouncing a “lack of clarity and rigour” in the EU approach towards e-cigarettes and heated tobacco.
Spain: The General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists has asked the Ministry of Health to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids by pharmacies, due to the “large number of health risks that their use could entail,” press reports. The council believes there is no evidence to support the use of e-cigarettes over alternative tools for smoking cessation. However, since parliament has already been dissolved ahead of elections in July, the present government is highly unlikely to take any action on the matter.
Chile: Deputy health secretary Andrea Albagi marked World No Tobacco Day yesterday with a warning against the use of e-cigarettes, saying they are harmful to health and a gateway to smoking, press reports.
Vietnam: National Assembly member Nguyen Anh Tri has proposed a ban on the sale, distribution and use of “new generation cigarettes”, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, press reports. Ministries are currently coordinating efforts to regulate such products, with a proposal expected to be submitted to the government by the end of June.
New Zealand: Following a three-month consultation on changes to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Act, health minister Ayesha Verrall has announced that vaping regulations will be updated in the next few days to tackle youth vaping, press reports. Asked about Australia’s import ban, Verrall added: “We need a vaping policy that reflects New Zealand’s needs, because we have very different needs in terms of who’s affected by smoking.”
US – federal: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued warning letters to 30 retailers it accused of selling various unauthorised types of Puff and Hyde brand disposable e-cigarettes, including Puff Bar, which are among the most popular brands with young US users. “Protecting our nation’s youth from tobacco products – including disposable e-cigarettes – is a top priority,” FDA commissioner Robert Califf said. “We’re committed to holding all players in the supply chain – not just manufacturers but also retailers and distributors – accountable to the law.”
France: A bill to regulate the activities of influencers on social media and electronic platforms, banning any direct or indirect promotion of nicotine-containing products, has been approved by a joint committee after the National Assembly and the Senate were unable to reach agreement on the details. The bill was accelerated, enabling it to be approved after just one reading in each chamber. The exact date of its entry into force is still uncertain.
US - Texas: House Bill 4758 has been passed by both the House and the Senate and sent to the governor for signature. It would prohibit e-cigarette containers from depicting cartoon-like characters that mimic those aimed at minors; using trademarks or “trade dress” of products marketed to minors; featuring symbols or celebrity images primarily used to market products to minors; or resembling a food product, including candy or juice.
Slovenia: Ahead of tomorrow’s World No Tobacco Day (31st May), the Ministry of Health has published a statement on progress toward a “Slovenia free of tobacco and nicotine 2040” envisaged in the national tobacco strategy 2022-2030. The ministry warns against new tobacco and nicotine products, and cites the proposal, currently being discussed at ministerial level, to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured vaping products and to include nicotine-free vaping products under the tobacco law.
Americas: Ahead of tomorrow’s World No Tobacco Day (31st May), Jarbas Barbosa, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has warned that novel tobacco and nicotine products “threaten to undo decades of gains against tobacco use”. He said: “The tobacco industry and its allies do not rest. Currently, they spread a lot of misleading information that promotes, especially among young people, the use of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.”
Turkey: The re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a third term as president, while the People’s Alliance led by his Justice and Development (AKP) party secured a majority in Parliament, suggests there is little prospect of any opening up of the e-cigarette sector. Erdoğan signed an order in 2020 banning the import of e-cigarettes.
France: Health minister François Braun has said he is considering including e-cigarettes among the smoking cessation tools that can be prescribed and reimbursed by social security. This contrasts with the opinion issued by the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) in January 2022, when it said the evidence was insufficient to recommend vaping products as a smoking cessation aid. Braun again declared himself in favour of introducing a ban on disposable e-cigarettes.
Spain: The Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine has issued a warning about a rise in the use of vaping products by teenagers. It says a poll conducted during Smoke-free Week found 90% of participants were in favour of extending the list of places where smoking and vaping are prohibited, while 21% of teenagers between 14 and 18 used e-cigarettes, 14% used hookahs, and 13% smoked.
Latvia: The parliamentary Social and Labour Affairs Committee yesterday partially rejected a proposal to exempt menthol and tobacco flavours from a ban put forward in a bill “amending the law on the circulation of tobacco products, herbal smoking products, electronic smoking devices and their liquids,” press reports. While it was agreed that tobacco flavour should be allowed, the committee decided menthol “could facilitate nicotine consumption”. Another proposal was to ban the sale of tobacco and substitute products, herbal smoking products, e-cigarettes and refill containers to anyone under 20. Those proposals will be discussed in the final debate on the bill, which is expected to take place before July.
UK: Prime minister Rishi Sunak today expressed concern about the prospect of his children taking up vaping after a BBC report that analysis of non-compliant e-cigarettes confiscated from secondary school pupils in Kidderminster, Worcestershire showed high levels of lead, nickel and chromium. The government is currently consulting on vaping rules, and reports of this kind are likely to galvanize policymakers into action – especially with some industry members estimating that the illicit e-cig market exceeds the legal market (a view not shared by ECigIntelligence, which estimates it at 20%).
Australia: The government of Queensland has passed legislation to strengthen the state’s anti-smoking and illicit tobacco laws and their enforcement. The Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023 introduces a licensing scheme for the sale of tobacco, expands the list of non-vaping areas and imposes tougher restrictions on vape sales at licensed venues. A parliamentary inquiry into vaping and e-cigarettes, with a focus on children and teenagers, will also shortly begin, concluding with a Health and Environment Committee report to be made to the Legislative Assembly by 31st August.
Indonesia: Firman Soebagyo, one of 85 Golkar party members in the 575-seat House of Representatives, where they are supportive of president Joko Widodo, has called on the government to immediately enact regulations for e-cigarettes, referring in particular to restrictions on ingredients, press reports.
Switzerland: Following the adoption of the people’s initiative “Children without Tobacco”, which calls for a ban on tobacco and vaping advertising aimed at children and adolescents, the Federal Office of Public Health has presented a fact sheet revealing that the advertising ban set down in the Tobacco Products Act is to be extended to all print media and points-of-sale. Online advertising will remain legal as long as an age-verification system is in place. The initiative is expected to be implemented in 2026.
Czech Republic: The Ministry of Finance has published a bill which would introduce a tax of CZK10 (€0.42) per ml on e-cig refills, regardless of nicotine content, from January 2024.
Lithuania: Bill XIVP-2791, which would ban vaping products containing sugar and/or sweeteners, was registered in the Seimas (parliament) yesterday. If adopted, it will come into force on 1st November. An explanatory letter says that although the Tobacco Control Act already bans the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing certain additives and non-tobacco flavourings, this has not reduced the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people as expected.
Switzerland: The National Council Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxation has submitted a motion calling on the Federal Council to draft a report on the taxation of tobacco products and e-cigarettes. It says the report should address issues such as the categorisation of new products, the impact of taxes on the black market, and tax adjustments based on average market prices. Earlier this year, during a debate on amending the Tobacco Tax Act, the Committee for Social Security and Health called for a tax on all e-cigarettes and for e-liquids to be taxed according to their nicotine content. The current bill sets a rate of CHF0.20 (€0.20) rate per ml of nicotine-containing e-liquid for reusable e-cigarettes and CHF1 (€1) per ml for disposable e-cigarettes, regardless of nicotine content.
US - Texas: House Bill 4758 has been passed by the Senate and now heads to the governor’s desk. It would ban e-cigarette containers that depict cartoon-like characters; mimic trademarks or appearance of products primarily marketed to minors; include symbols or celebrity images aimed at minors; or resemble food products, including candy or juice.