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.”
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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.
Lithuania: The Seimas (parliament) has approved the government’s 12-year agenda on drug, tobacco and alcohol control, which aims to reduce supply and consumption, media reports. The document recommends that controls should be prepared and implemented at municipal level.
US - federal: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has hired its first senior advisor for health equality. Charlene Le Fauve has 25 years’ experience of federal work related to health equality, dedicating her career to “advancing health equity and the health of under-served and under-represented populations through research and research workforce development”.
Australia: The head of the Border Force, Michael Outram, has warned that government plans to prohibit the import of vaping products and make them subject to prescription, regardless of their nicotine content, will not be enough to combat the black market, press reports. “A border ban by itself may be partly effective, but it won’t be fully effective to solve the problem,” he said.
Slovakia: A draft amendment to the Act on the Production, Labelling and Sale of Tobacco Products that would equate the regulation of nicotine-free e-cigarettes with that of those containing nicotine has moved to its second reading in the National Council, media reports. If adopted, it will come into force on 1st September.
India: The Health Ministry has called for stricter enforcement of the statutory e-cigarette ban, which covers manufacturing, import, export, distribution and advertising of e-cigs, including parts and accessories, press reports.
Ukraine: Bill 9315, prohibiting the sale of e-liquids in duty-free shops, has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). If adopted, it will come into force on the first day of the month following its publication and remain in force as a temporary measure until the end of martial law or the state of emergency.