US - Colorado: The Finance Committee held a hearing yesterday on House Bill 22-1064, which would prohibit the distribution of flavoured cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products, including those containing synthetic nicotine. Opponents of the bill, which was introduced early this year, argue that the pre-kindergarten (pre-K) program would take a big funding hit as it is currently supported by the state nicotine tax, following a 2020 ballot vote. Democrat representative Kyle Mullica said: “We always run that risk when we want to fund these important programs off of taxes like this that are vices. I think hopefully we start maybe getting away from that because I don’t think that’s probably the most appropriate way to fund these programs.”
As of February 2022, subscribers can view and filter individual regulatory alerts per region. If you want to get our monthly compilations, visit our alerts round-up section.
Malaysia: The Ministry of Trade and Consumer Affairs today issued an order on Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking of Electronic Cigarette Device). The order, which will come into force on 3rd August, requires manufacturers and importers of e-cigarette devices and their components to apply to the testing and inspections agency SIRIM QAS International for a certificate of compliance with the Malaysian standard before placing them on the market. Each compliant product will then be marked as such. The order does not apply to e-liquids.
Bulgaria: The Council of Ministers has agreed to introduce an excise duty for vaping products in order to cut usage, media reports. The exact figures have not yet been released, but the new tax is planned to come into force in July.
Pennsylvania: House Bill 2466 has been introduced, which would include “electronic smoking devices” – “An electronic device that contains or delivers nicotine or another substance to an individual inhaling from the device” – within the definition of “smoking” for purposes of the Clean Indoor Air Act. This legislation would also give all localities the right to enact smoke-free ordinances that are more protective than current state law.
Italy: The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has issued a circular listing the new excise duty rates on e-liquids that apply until the end of the year. As of 1st April, nicotine-containing liquids will be subject to duty of €0.131303 per ml, while the rate for those without nicotine is €0.087535 per ml.
UK: Junior health minister Maggie Throup told MPs during a debate on “Smoke-free England” that the government’s tobacco control plan would be published later this year. She added: “The new plan will set out a comprehensive package of new policy proposals and regulatory change.”
Lithuania: The Ministry of Health, along with the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department (NTAKD), has presented a draft National Agenda on drug, tobacco and alcohol control, prevention of drug sse and drug-related harm up tol 2035 to the Seimas (parliament) Committee for Addiction Prevention. The plan aims to reduce the supply of tobacco and related products through policies based on scientific studies, improving excise duties, raising awareness of the effects of smuggling on the public budget, regulating emerging products promptly, and strengthening advertising restrictions.
South Africa: The libertarian think think the Free Market Foundation is reportedly concerned that the government’s plans for regulating vaping products will push more people back toward smoking and to buying from the black market. The South African Treasury’s director for economic tax analysis, Chris Axelson, told press that a flat tax rate based on e-liquid volume, regardless of nicotine concentration, had been agreed in principle. He said the Treasury would draft a bill aiming to have a tax in force from 1st January 2023.
Spain: The Ministry of Health has told the press that a draft amendment to the tobacco control law will shortly be finalised. Although the exact content of the proposal is not yet known, it is expected to include a ban on the use of tobacco products, including heated tobacco and e-cigarettes, in places such as outdoor terraces, beaches, and in private cars. It is also reported that plain packaging is to be introduced, although it is unclear for which products. It remains uncertain what other restrictions might be applied to heat-not-burn (HnB) products and e-cigarettes and whether nicotine pouches are to be included. Lastly, the press reports that prices will be raised, however, it is again unclear which products will be affected.
Canada - New Brunswick: A judge will give a decision tomorrow, 31st March, on a bid by a group of vape stores to suspend the province’s ban on flavoured e-cigarettes, introduced in September 2021, local media reports. The plaintiffs are also seeking to halt a requirement for vape stores to obtain a licence, due to come into force on Friday, 1st April.
US - Texas: Houston City Council will today consider a proposal that would add vaping to the city’s existing ban on smoking in public spaces, local media reports. Quality of Life Committee chairman Robert Gallegos yesterday urged his colleagues to support the proposal. The original ordinance, passed in 2006, bans smoking in enclosed public places, within 25 ft of a public building’s entrance or exit, and other public areas, including outdoor seating areas and covered public transport facilities.
Switzerland: Stakeholders have until tomorrow to comment on the Federal Council consultation on a partial revision of the Tobacco Tax Act, which would set a tax on e-liquids 77% lower than that on combustible cigarettes. The Federal Department of Finance told ECigIntelligence it would revise the preliminary draft based on the results of the consultation. The draft will then be discussed in Parliament. The changes are not expected to come into force before mid/late 2023.
Germany: The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has updated the list of notified e-cigarette products, which now contains 254,020 vapour products. Only products notified at least six months ago are listed.
US: Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has confirmed to ECigIntelligence its decision to stop selling tobacco products in a number of its stores. The company did not say how many of its 5,000 US stores would be affected. Walmart announced in 2019 that it would no longer sell vaping products.
UK: The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published its eagerly awaited Post-Implementation Review of Tobacco Legislation. It says the government will consider changes to the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations as part of its plans towards meeting its Smokefree 2030 ambition, but recommends, on the basis of the evidence reviewed, that the current regulations should remain in force. The consultation responses on one side suggested amendments to e-cigarette packaging to promote them as less harmful than smoking, along with increases in allowed e-liquid bottle and tank sizes, and nicotine strength. On the other side, some respondents wanted stronger packaging designs and colours to deter youth use. The new Tobacco Control Plan is yet to be published, but following this no major changes to the vaping framework can be expected.
Belgium: The Federal Public Health Service (FPS) for Health, Food Chain Safety and the Environment has told ECigIntelligence that the draft 2022-2028 Interfederal Strategy for a Tobacco-Free Generation presented last week at the Interministerial Conference on Public Health (CIM Santé) will be supplemented by a series of operational objectives and the goal is to have a complete strategy adopted in autumn.
US: VPR Brands has announced the settlement of a patent infringement case against three companies, which have agreed to pay $155,000 for a fully paid-up, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to use VPR’s e-cigarette technology, patented in 2009. This is the third such case brought by VPR, which agreed settlements of $275,000 and $85,000 with other companies in December 2021 and claims to have identified over 50 more that it says are using its Auto Draw Technology. Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based VPR said: “Additional lawsuits will continue to be filed as necessary to protect the company’s Intellectual Property rights.”
Canada - Northwest Territories: E-liquids of any flavour other than tobacco are now banned, as of 25th March, under amendments to the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Regulations.
UK: Lancashire County Council reported yesterday that Trading Standards had carried out inspections of vape shops in response to a huge increase in the number of complaints relating to under-age sales. One shop owner was fined £166 by a court and ordered to pay £275 in costs after two volunteers, aged 15 and 16, were able to make successful test purchases. The shop assistant who sold the products was also fined. Similar actions have been carried out recently in other parts of the country.
Belgium: The General Drug Policy Unit (CGPD) yesterday presented the draft of the 2022-2028 Strategy for a Tobacco-Free Generation during an interministerial conference on public health. The plan, which includes vaping, sets several objectives, such as: removing tobacco industry interference from the preparation and implementation of public health policies, improving health promotion policies, a ban on vending machines, tightening restrictions on long-distance sales and advertising, and improving the make-up of vapour products.
Netherlands: The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has confirmed to ECigIntelligence that in general it is still allowed to print the names of flavours on the packaging of e-liquids and pods. However, it offered a reminder that flavours will soon be banned in the Netherlands.
Mongolia: The government has decided to submit changes to the Law on Tobacco Control by June and propose an e-cigarette tax, press reports.
UK: Conservative MP Bob Blackman today called on the government to raise the purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 and introduce a “polluter pays” levy on Big Tobacco in order to achieve the smoke-free 2030 targets and to raise funds for smoking cessation services. Prime minister Boris Johnson agreed that smoking was a number one cause of preventable deaths and said that Javed Khan, who is currently reviewing tobacco policy, would take Blackman’s proposals into account.
Iceland: A bill amending Law 87/2018 on e-cigarettes and refills, which we have reported on, has been approved at its first reading in the Althingi (parliament). In addition to banning “flavours that may appeal to children, such as sweet and fruit flavours”, the bill includes a mandatory licence to sell vaping products, issued by the Housing and Civil Engineering Institute, and a ban on vaping on education premises. The bill now moves on to the Welfare Committee, which could propose amendments.
US: New warning letters have been issued by the FDA to manufacturers and distributors of e-liquid products that are “new tobacco products” without the required FDA marketing authorisation to remain in the market.
US - Idaho: Senate Bill 1285 has been delivered to governor Brad Little for signature. This bill denies local government authorities the right to adopt or enforce requirements for the regulation, marketing, or sale of tobacco products or e-cigarettes that are more restrictive than state law. It would also prevent them from imposing or enforcing a tax or fee on tobacco products or e-cigarettes.
Australia: The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday published the results of its 2020/21 smoking and vaping prevalence survey. They show that almost 9.3% of adults have tried vaping at least once and 2.2% vape regularly, including 4.8% of those aged 18-24. In all, 21.7% of 18-24s had tried vaping at least once. Strikingly, the survey also shows that among current smokers, 23.8% were former users of vaping products.
Paraguay: The government is currently discussing with the Senate the immediate enactment of a bill that would increase the tax on e-liquids from 20% (in force since February) to 22%, press reports. The tax rise is in response to the government’s plan to subsidise oil in order to keep its price stable.
Russia: Dmitry Davydov, author of the non-profit project "20 Ideas for the Development of Russia", recommends increasing the purchasing age for nicotine-containing products – including e-liquids and heated tobacco consumables – media reports. Referring to the experience of other countries, Davydov proposes a gradual transition, raising the age limit in the first year from 18 to 19, in the second year from 19 to 20, and in the third year to 21.
Australia: Doctors and public health experts are reportedly urging the government to ban the sale of nicotine-free vaping products that may seem appealing to children. While nicotine-containing e-cigarettes have been subject to prescription since last October, the import and sale of nicotine-free products are not subject to the same requirement. Since the nicotine-containing vaping products import restrictions came into force, the Border Force has seized 248 shipments of such products.