Russia: A bill introducing a combined excise tax for disposable e-cigarettes and the e-liquid contained in them came through its first reading in the State Duma yesterday. It would set an initial rate of RUB62 ($1.03) per device plus RUB17 ($0.28) per ml of e-liquid, to rise over the next few years. If adopted, it will come into force three months after its official publication. However, deputy finance minister Alexei Sazanov reportedly told the State Duma Budget Committee that the bill needed to be modified, eliminating the tax on the device, leaving a tax only on the liquid, which should apply to both disposable and reusable e-cigs. Currently, both e-cig devices and e-liquids are subject to excise tax; however, under the principle of one-time taxation, disposables are taxed only at the devices rate.
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US - Alaska: The anti-taxation think tank Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has applauded governor Mike Dunleavy’s decision to veto Senate Bill 45, which would have raised from 19 to 21 the legal age to purchase, sell, exchange or possess tobacco, nicotine-containing products, or e-cigarettes. The bill would also have levied a 35% tax on the wholesale price of all e-cigarette products. ATR’s director of consumer issues, Tim Andrews, said: “Rejecting the tax hike will also make it easier for those who currently smoke to achieve cessation using vapour products.”
UK: Unofficial Elf Bar social media accounts that allegedly target minors had a 15% increase in followers between March and September, rising from 557,960 to over 650,000, according to Vape Club data reported by the media. However, the number of unofficial Elf Bar accounts selling the devices on TikTok has decreased from 205 in March to 53 in September. For the past year, ECigIntelligence has repeatedly reported on increased oversight of the market by Trading Standards.
Ukraine: Parliament yesterday rejected amendments N20 and N21 to Bill 5616 “On the legal protection of geographical indications for agricultural products”, which would have allowed vaping and heated tobacco use in some “specially designated” public areas, media reports. The amendments had been criticised for attempting to introduce matters unrelated to the main subject of the bill, which is prohibited under parliament regulations.
Slovakia: The National Smoke-Free Day festival will take place tomorrow in the capital, Bratislava. Among other activities, adult visitors will reportedly be instructed about the main risks associated with nicotine and tobacco use, including smoke-free alternatives.
UK: The National Health Service (NHS) today published figures showing that 9% of 11- to 15-year-olds vape, either regularly or occasionally, a 50% increase since 2018. A similar result was reported earlier this summer by the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash). At the same time, the NHS reports that 3% of pupils are current cigarette smokers, down from 5% in 2018.
Russia: Yaroslav Nilov, head of the State Duma Committee on Labour and Social Policy, has drawn attention to online selling of e-cigarettes to minors, media reports. Nilov has reportedly asked the prosecutor’s office to check on online stores and their compliance with the law.
UK: Responding to MPs’ questions about e-cigarettes and young people, junior health minister Maggie Throup said the Department of Health and Social Care is considering banning cartoon characters, images and flavour names which might be appealing to children. Throup added that the department was working with the Environment Agency to remind vape suppliers who place more than five tonnes of products on the UK market per year that they are obliged to register with the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) producer compliance scheme.
Slovakia: As of 1st September, following an amendment to the Act on the Protection of Non-Smokers, e-cigarettes can no longer be sold via vending machines.
US - general: RJ Reynolds has asked for a midtrial end to the suit brought by Altria, which claimed Reynolds had stolen its designs for a pod-style vape without paying a royalty, legal media reports. Reynolds said its product lacked some specifics in the design, which made it different from the patent.
Ireland: Research by the Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland shows that 39% of young people aged between 16 and 17 have tried vaping, while 32% have tried smoking, press reports. The main reasons given for trying e-cigarettes were primarily curiosity (66%) and having friends who vape (29%).
Bahrain: The National Bureau for Revenue announced yesterday that from 16th October all cigarettes available for sale must be marked with distinctive digital stamps as laid down by decree No. 3/2022, issued in May. From that date any cigarettes not having the digital stamp will either be destroyed or confiscated. The system is to be extended later to include other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco and hookahs.
Brazil: Stefania Piras, general manager of tobacco products inspection for the National Public Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), has defended the national ban on e-cigarettes and said use in the country is still low, press reports. The Anvisa board voted unanimously in July to maintain the existing ban on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco. The agency is still discussing whether a new draft regulation will go out to public consultation.
Belarus: Following inspections in August of 118 retail outlets selling nicotine-containing e-liquids and disposable vapes, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade has reported that in 77 instances products were found to be on open display, in violation of current legislation. Products were also found without certificates of conformity. All offending sellers were told to cease illegal activities.
Brazil: The Ministry of Justice has ordered 31 companies to stop selling e-cigarettes within 48 hours or face a daily fine of BRL5,000 ($960). Although the National Public Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has already banned e-cigs, the ministry has seen evidence of them being sold with the appearance of legality.
US - federal: The FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has sent out new warning letters to a number of e-liquid manufacturers for offering e-liquid products (listed in the letter) for sale or distribution without a marketing authorisation order.
Switzerland: The Federal Council has submitted for consultation a draft bill to amend the Tobacco Products Act after a majority of voters in a referendum in February supported a proposal by the campaign group Children Without Tobacco to prevent tobacco and vaping advertising from reaching children and young people. The ban would include advertising in newspapers, at open-air events and online. The consultation will remain open until 30th November and the government expects the preliminary draft to be submitted to the Federal Assembly in the first half of 2023.
US - general: Illinois-based e-liquid manufacturer Gripum’s petition for a review of its marketing denial order (MDO), filed on 8th October 2021 in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has been denied. The court found that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s denial of the company’s premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) for a range of flavoured liquids was not arbitrary or unreasonable. The same court issued a stay of the MDO on 4th November 2021, pending resolution of the litigation.
China (Macau): The Macau Legislative Assembly has unanimously approved a government amendment to the New Tobacco Control Law, which prohibits the manufacture, import, export, distribution and transport of e-cigarettes. Until now, e-cig sales have been forbidden in the special administrative region, while limited imports for personal use were allowed.
US - general: The parent company of Philip Morris USA, Altria, has told a federal jury that RJ Reynolds stole its designs for a pod-style vape without paying a royalty, specialist legal media reports.
Germany: The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has updated the list of notified e-cigarette products, which now contains 276,544 vapour products. Only products notified at least six months ago are listed.
Ukraine: Parliament was today due to consider Bill 5616 “on the peculiarities of the legal protection of geographical indications for agricultural products”, including amendments to allow vaping and heated tobacco use in some “specially designated” public areas, media reports. Although the economic policy committe supported both of these amendments, the bill has been criticised for going against a parliamentary regulation that prohibits the introduction of amendments unrelated to a bill’s main subject.
Spain: The Smoking Prevention Committee (CNPT) – the largest anti-tobacco organisation in Spain, representing several medical and anti-tobacco bodies – has criticised the government’s proposal in the Tobacco Market Bill to open 203 new tobacco shops. If passed, the bill would restrict the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids to tobacconists only within five years. The CNPT says that instead of increasing the number of tobacconists, the current number should be cut by half. The CNPT also criticised the delaying of the Tobacco Control and Prevention Plan 2021-2025, which was meant to be approved eight months ago and has not yet even been presented. CNPT president Andrés Zamorano said he fears neither the Tobacco Plan nor the amendment to the tobacco laws that the government announced will take place before the elections that are due in November 2023.
US - federal: The US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has granted a petition for review of Bidi Vapor and other companies involved in the case and set aside the marketing denial orders (MDOs) issued to them by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), remanding them to the agency. The court held that the MDOs issued to Bidi Vapor, Diamond Vapor, Johnny Copper, Pop Vapor, Vapor Unlimited and Union Street Brands were arbitrary and capricious due to the FDA failing to consider “the relevant marketing and sales-access-restrictions plans”. ECigIntelligence will publish a report in the coming days tracking and analysing all these cases.