US - federal: The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability has announced that it is investigating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). Republican committee chairman James Comer has written to FDA commissioner Robert Califf, accusing the CTP of failing to effectively define and administer its tobacco and nicotine regulatory programmes, “[fostering] uncertainty in the marketplace and [allowing] unsafe and unregulated products to proliferate”. "A recent evaluation of CTP by the Reagan-Udall Foundation (RUF) found that CTP has not clearly set out the most basic elements of its tobacco and nicotine regulatory programs,” Comer said. He is requesting documents, communications, and a staff-level briefing related to the CTP’s activities.
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Slovenia: A 30-day public consultation on a Ministry of Health bill to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured vaping products ends today. The bill would also bring nicotine-free vaping products under the Tobacco Law, making them subject to the same product restrictions and notification requirements as tobacco products.
Germany: The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has updated the list of notified e-cigarette products, which now contains 310,464 vapour products. Only products notified at least six months ago are listed.
US - Louisiana: House Bill 179 has been introduced, which would prohibit the sale or service of any e-liquid or vapour product with “a characterizing flavor” – the definition of which would ban all flavours but for tobacco.
Brazil: The director of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), Antonio Barra Torres, has told media that a resolution of the legal status of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco will probably be reached this year, possibly by the end of June. He said he did not want to anticipate whether that would involve prohibition or authorisation of the products because of the impact it would have on the market.
Germany: Customs officers have have seized 4.4 litres of untaxed e-liquids during an inspection in Potsdam, near Berlin. They found seven out of ten retailers failed to comply with the current Tobacco Tax Law. E-liquids have been taxed since 1st July 2022 and the transitional period allowing the sale of old stock ended on 12th February 2023.
Egypt: The Ministry of Health has issued a warning against the use of e-cigarettes, saying that the argument that they are less harmful than combustibles cigarettes is “completely untrue”. It adds that e-cigarettes contain “a huge amount” of nicotine and harmful toxins that can cause chronic diseases, damage the respiratory and digestive systems, and cause cardiovascular disease.
Netherlands: Figures from the national statistical office, Statistics Netherlands, show a significant increase in e-cigarette use among young people in 2022 compared to 2021. The biggest rise was in the 16-20 age group, where reported use of e-cigarettes went from 2.5% in 2021 to 8.8% in 2022, an increase of 252%. Among the 20-30 age group, it went up by 247% from 1.7% in 2021 to 5.9% in 2022. In the youngest group in which vaping was reported, 12-16 years, the number of e-cigarette users more than doubled from 0.8% in 2021 to 1.7% in 2022.
US - general: Juul Labs and its former major investor Altria face their first US trial this week over claims that they promoted e-cigarettes on social media to appeal to minors, Reuters reports.
Switzerland: A study conducted last year by the Swiss Addiction Foundation, funded by the Federal Office of Public Health, and involving 9,345 students found 7% of girls and 8% of boys aged 15 had used e-cigarettes in the preceding 30 days. The foundation is urging the government to take measures on advertising, sales, price, packaging and flavours.
Australia: The opposition National Party has proposed lifting the ban on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, press reports. The Nationals’ larger coalition partners the Liberals have in the past been in favour of the current regime, under which nicotine vapes can only be bought on prescription. Steve Robson, president of the Australian Medical Association, firmly opposed lifting the ban, saying children were already purchasing e-cigs despite age restrictions.
US - federal: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a new webpage listing all the tobacco products-related citizen petitions received by the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). A citizen petition is a way for individuals, regulated industry representatives, or consumer groups to petition the FDA to issue, amend, or revoke a regulation, or to take other administrative action.
Cambodia: During a seminar yesterday on e-cigarettes and related products, education minister Kim Sethany told school managers to ramp up enforcement of the ban on e-cigs and heated tobacco, which she said were widely known by Cambodian teenagers through advertising on social media, press reports. At the same forum, Mom Kong, director of the Cambodian Movement for Health, said e-cigarettes contained nicotine and other chemicals which enter users’ brains and “can lead to chronic lung disease, stroke and heart attack”.
UK: Though there are no immediate plans for a ban, the government is concerned by the increasing use of disposable vaping products, particularly by children, and their impact on the environment when they are thrown away, junior health minister Neil O’Brien said in reply to a parliamentary question. He said “a range of measures to address these issues” was being explored.
Taiwan: Amendments to tobacco legislation banning all types of e-cigarette and regulating heated tobacco products will come into force tomorrow. Heated tobacco products will have to undergo a health risk assessment before they can be sold in Taiwan. E-cigarette retailers risk fines of between TWD200,000 ($6,500) and TWD1m ($32,800), while anyone caught vaping could be fined TWD2,000 ($65) to TWD10,000 ($328).
UK: The government will unveil a set of proposals in the coming weeks aimed at realising the goal of a “Smokefree 2030” and responding to the recommendations in the Khan Review, according to junior health minister Neil O’Brien.
US - federal: Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate Elf Bar for allegedly skirting US advertising laws, press reports. New York Democrat Schumer says Elf Bar products are colourfully packaged to attract young people, and that flavours such as peach mango, cotton candy, and vanilla ice-cream are deliberately kid-friendly. Hе claims the company is using social media platforms TikTok and Instagram, and paying influencers to market e-cigarettes directly to children and teens. He said the FDA must use its “full authority and power to investigate and take actions against Elf Bar and be prepared to ban it from the market”.
UK: Lancashire Police and Trading Standards officers last week seized 1,024 counterfeit e-cigarettes and tobacco products in the town of Preston. Together they would have been worth around £7,000 if genuine.
Italy: The Council of Ministers has adopted a bill to delegate a tax reform to the government. Among other things, it aims to review the administrative procedures for the sales network for tobacco products, e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches. The bill should come before Parliament in May.
US - California: A US federal judge has granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by RJ Reynold and other tobacco companies against California’s statewide ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco and vaping products. Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo said: “SB 793 does not control the retail sales of these products in other states, nor does it control the ability of manufacturers in or outside of California to continue manufacturing flavored tobacco products. In fact, manufacturers are still permitted to manufacture flavored tobacco products in California.” Reynolds and others brought the suit after California’s voters approved the ban in a November referendum. They claimed the law violated both the federal Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and the commerce clause in the US Constitution.
UK: As announced in yesterday’s Spring Budget, all tobacco taxes, including on heated tobacco, have increased in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 2%.
South Africa: The Advertising Regulatory Board has added an appendix to its industry-owned Code of Advertising Practice to include vaping devices and e-liquids, both with and without nicotine. Among other things, it suggests advertisements should not be targeted at under-18s, should include a health warning, and should use the phrase “safer than” in comparison with combustible tobacco.
US - Nevada: Assembly Bill 294 has passed its first reading and been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services. It would ban the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes with any flavour other than tobacco. It would also ban cigarette sales to anyone born after 31st December 2002; and bar the Nevada Department of Taxation from issuing a licence to any vending machine operator, manufacturer or wholesale dealer in cigarettes after 31st December 2028. It is unclear if these last measures would apply to e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products, since there is no definition of “cigarette” in the bill.
Switzerland: National Council member Christophe Clivaz of the opposition Green Party has submitted a motion calling for a ban on disposable e-cigarettes. His motion, citing ecological harm and high risk of addiction, was supported by members of the government parties, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the Liberals (FDP), the Centre Party and the Social Democratic Party (SP).
Bulgaria: Finance minister Rositsa Velkova has announced that the 2023 Budget will include an increase in tax on e-cigarettes. The changes will be published tomorrow, 17th March, and a draft budget will be presented for public discussion on 3rd April before being submitted to the National Assembly.
Netherlands: The House of Representatives has approved a motion calling on the government to introduce mandatory neutral appearance for e-cigarette devices themselves, not just their packaging, media reports. Also passed was a motion demanding a licensing requirement for tobacco sales outlets.
UK - Scotland: Glasgow City Council yesterday responded to the ongoing Scottish government review of the environmental impact of disposable e-cigarettes by calling for a ban on all disposables. The council said Glasgow’s Trading Standards regularly visit shops and warehouses to check businesses are complying with regulations and advise retailers on their responsibilities and that 13,000 non-compliant single-use vapes were seized in three months. In 2022, 63 such inspections were made, with seizures of non-compliant goods made from 51 stores. A cross-party bill to ban the sale of disposables was submitted to the UK Parliament last month.