UK: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today published a decision against an advertisement for Riot e-liquid, which it said breached the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code. The ASA acted on two web pages advising smokers to quit in terms such as: “Cut your cigarette intake and use your Riot Bar whenever you aren’t able to smoke. Without realising, your cigarette intake will be next to nothing, or even better; non-existent. THE REST IS EASY.” The ASA said the ad undermined the message that quitting tobacco was the best option for health, and that Riot Labs had agreed to remove the disputed wording from its website.
New trial available: Click on any alert below and access our regulatory alerts and get timely notifications sent to your inbox for 7 days.
UK: The government has no plans to ban vaping in public enclosed places, junior health minister Neil O’Brien told members of Parliament (MPs).
EU: Answering questions from members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Johan Nissinen of the right-wing Sweden Democrats and Anne-Sophie Pelletier of the French Left on when the proposal reviewing the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED) would be presented, the European Commission stated that “the revision is currently being finalised”, and ”a planned adoption date will be indicated in due course”.
Finland: The Ministry of Finance has told ECigIntelligence that €2.1m was raised in tax revenue from e-liquids in 2020, €3.1m in 2021, and €2.7m in 2022. It said nicotine-free e-liquids accounted for very little, and confirmed that e-cigarette devices are not subject to excise tax.
US - Texas: House Bill 3022, which would ban the sale of single-use e-cigarettes, has passed its first reading and been referred to the Committee on Public Health.
Thailand: Following investigations into online advertisements, police seized more than 20,000 e-cigarettes, 80,000 refills and other accessories, worth a total of about THB80m ($2.3m), from two warehouses in Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom, central Thailand, press reports. The importing and selling of vaping products are illegal in Thailand.
Australia: Queensland state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a parliamentary inquiry into vaping to take place next week, media reports. It follows reports that primary school children are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes. Health minister Yvette D’Ath said the state health committee would examine how children are accessing vapes. She also said many vaping products were falsely labelled as nicotine-free. Nicotine vaping products can only be accessed in Australia with a prescription.
UK: There are no current plans to reduce nicotine levels in vapour products, junior health minister Neil O’Brien said in reply to a written parliamentary question.
Slovenia: The National Institute of Public Health has supported a Ministry of Health bill which seeks to ban the sale of vaping products with any flavour other than tobacco and to bring nicotine-free vaping products under the legal framework for tobacco. The institute also proposes limiting the number of sales points for vaping products.
Germany: Customs officers have seized 46 l of e-liquids and 40 counterfeit e-cigarettes in the Rhine-Neckar region of northwest Baden-Württemberg, on which a total of about €7,500 tax had gone unpaid. E-liquids have been taxed in Germany since 1st July 2022, and all old untaxed old stock should have been sold by 12th February 2023.
New Zealand: As shown in our compliance calendar, tomorrow (15th March) is the last day to submit comments on new proposals to address youth vaping. The proposals seek to tighten retail availability, reduce nicotine levels in disposable e-cigarettes, restrict flavour names, and add packaging requirements.
UK: Greater Manchester Police has announced the seizure of 18,000 “non-compliant vape products” in an ongoing enforcement operation.
UK: Asked in Parliament about a possible “smoke-free fund” to be paid for by the tobacco industry to boost public health budgets, junior health minister Neil O’Brien said the government would be investing £35m this year in the National Health Service (NHS) to ensure that all smokers who are admitted to hospital are given NHS-funded tobacco treatment.
Switzerland: The upper house of the Federal Assembly, the Council of States, has approved by 40 votes to one an amendment to the Tobacco Tax Act to tax e-cigarettes. The rate would be CHF0.20 (€0.20) per ml of nicotine-containing e-liquid for reusable e-cigarettes and CHF1 per ml for disposable e-cigarettes, regardless of nicotine content. The amendment will now be discussed by the lower house, the National Council.
Netherlands: Governing coalition party Democrats 66 was today set to submit a motion to the House of Representatives calling for an enforced change in the appearance of e-cigarettes to make them “as neutral and uniform as possible”, media reports.
UK: Treasury sources say a vaping levy will not be included in next week’s Budget, despite calls from health department officials, press reports. The Department of Health and Social Care told ECigIntelligence last week that it would not comment on reported speculation that ministers were considering a vaping tax.
Czech Republic: National anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil has told reporters that an overdue action plan on addiction will be sent to the government by the end of March. The plan, which was to have been presented at the end of the last year, includes proposals for new taxation of addictive substances – reportedly including an excise tax for e-cigarettes, at a lower rate than for traditional cigarettes.
US - general: Tobacco giant Altria has entered into an agreement to acquire e-cigarette manufacturer Njoy for approximately $2.75bn. The purchase will give Altria control over the Njoy Ace, currently the only pod-based vape product with market authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Paraguay: MP José Rodríguez said yesterday that his Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico (PLRA), the largest opposition party, will press for the excise duty on vaping products to be raised to 24% of the wholesale price – the highest rate allowed by law, press reports. The government recently raised the duty from 20% to 22% of the wholesale price.
Denmark: The government has sent a draft bill to the European Commission TRIS database introducing an executive order to expand requirements for notification of e-cigarettes and refill containers without nicotine, such as an e-cigarette ID for every product. The standstill period ends on 5th June.
US - Alaska: Senate Bill 89 has been introduced, which would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco, nicotine and vaping products from 19 to 21. It would also levy a tax on closed-system e-cigarettes at 25% of the wholesale price. Governor Mike Dunleavy vetoed a similar bill last year.
Uruguay: The Ministry of Health has opposed the legalisation of e-cigarettes after the Association of Vapers of Uruguay (Asovape) called on the government to regulate them and “campaign for responsible consumption”, press reports. The ministry countered: “It is in the best interest of the population that they continue to be banned because there is no evidence to show that one device is less harmful than another.”
Philippines: The Department of Trade and Industry’s Consumer Protection Group has warned all e-commerce platforms to comply with vaping and heated tobacco regulation, or risk facing intensified monitoring and enforcement. It follows an increase in the number of online retailers found to be selling non-compliant products, such as products without the required health warnings or with flavour descriptors.
US - general: Altria has announced that it has exchanged its investment in Juul Labs for a non-exclusive global licence to certain of Juul’s heated tobacco intellectual property. Juul stated: “The return of Altria’s equity stake and termination of underlying agreements affords us full strategic freedom – we are no longer limited by the terms of those agreements to pursue other strategic opportunities and partnerships.” The e-cigarette manufacturer added that it would “continue to pursue future applications for new products to accelerate our mission and progress for the adult smoker, public health, and an end to combustible cigarettes”.
Czech Republic: The Ministry of Health has updated the publicly available list of notified herbal products for smoking, e-cigarettes and refill containers.
US - Hawaii: The House Committee on Finance has recommended that House Bill 551 be passed unamended. The bill would prohibit the sale of flavoured tobacco products and the mislabelling of e-liquids as nicotine-free.
EU: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) of 1.3.2023 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products was adopted yesterday. The purpose is to facilitate reporting of all involved in the trade in tobacco products and good practice in data management and analysis. The technical rules concern “the operation of the various components of the repositories system, the tasks of and the procedures to be followed by the ID issuers as well as the reporting activities of the economic operators and the technical tools available to the Member States in the context of their enforcement duties, in particular, all access interfaces including for mobile inspections”. Track and trace obligations, which currently apply to cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, will be extended to all tobacco products from 20th May 2024, and we believe will eventually apply to all other alternative products, including e-cigarettes.