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California: An ordinance has been approved in the city of Antioch in Contra Costa County to prohibit characterising flavours in tobacco products, impose packaging restrictions on cigarettes and cigars, and ban the sale of e-cigarettes for use with tobacco or tobacco products, local press reports. At the meeting which took the decision, councilmember Mike Barbanica expressed strong opposition, saying: “We have a city that allows cannabis sales...but you cannot buy some bubblegum vaping pen”. Another councilmember put a motion to waive the first reading and read by title only, which passed 3-2.
Connecticut: Senate Bill 139 has been introduced. It would ban all flavours but for tobacco in electronic nicotine delivery systems and vapour products. It would also amend the definition of “electronic cigarette liquid” to include products with synthetic ingredients.
UK (Scotland): Trading Standards officers found a wide range of non-compliant single-use or disposable vaping devices on sale in Scotland between October and December 2021, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) reports. Following inspections, a total of 88,839 disposable devices were removed from sale as they were either not labelled correctly, did not contain sufficient classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) regulation information or had not been published by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Another 3,683 devices were seized as they had a capacity of over the legal limit of 2 ml.
Italy: The Chamber of Deputies has approved the text for the conversion into law of Decree-Law 228/2021, which aims to lower excise duties on e-cigarettes. If the bill is also approved by the Senate, the rates which applied in early 2021 will be restored from 1st April 2022: approximately €0.13 per ml for nicotine-containing e-liquids and €0.08 per ml for those without nicotine.
Bulgaria: Analysis by the Customs Agency uncovered the evasion of BGN 977,000 (€500,000) in customs duties and VAT on imports of disposable e-cigarettes between 2019 and 2021.
US: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued on Thursday a new batch of warning letters to manufacturers and distributors of e-liquid products classed as “new tobacco products” without the required FDA marketing authorisation to remain on the market.
Italy: The Customs and Monopoly Agency (ADM) has updated the lists of notified nicotine-containing and nicotine-free e-cigarette products. The total number of notified vaping products now stands at 20,743.
China: The market administration of Changsha, a city of 8m people in Hunan province, has issued a notice alerting the public to last November’s national legislative changes. Tobacco operators and advertising agencies are reminded that it is illegal to advertise e-cigarettes online, in mass media, newspapers, radio or television. The notice says: “Advertisements promoting product names, trademarks, packaging, branding and similar features of electronic cigarettes must be immediately removed.”
Armenia: A technical regulation on the safety of nicotine-containing e-liquids came into force on 11th February. The regulation introduces certain product, labelling, storage and transportation requirements, as well as conformity assessment procedures. It sets a maximum nicotine content for e-liquids of 20 mg /ml.
Maryland: House Bill 1227 has been introduced. It would specify that a “tobacco product” includes certain products that are made of, derived from, or contain nicotine from any source, including synthetic nicotine.
Ireland: The Oireachtas (parliament) Health Committee is continuing its scrutiny of the Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products Bill by hearing the concerns of stakeholders, press reports. This week the Irish Vape Vendors Association (UVVA) stressed to the committee the role of vaping products in smoking cessation and criticised the threat of a flavour ban, which some medical societies have said should be included in the bill.
EU: The European Parliament voted yesterday, 16th February, by 652 votes to 15, with 27 abstentions, in favour of adopting the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) report on Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer. The report is of crucial importance, as it makes recommendations related to traditional and novel tobacco and related products that are likely to be considered by the European Commission in the upcoming revision of the Tobacco Excise Directive and the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Last-minute attempts by Socialist and Democrat MEPs to introduce amendments that would have made harsher the recommendations on novel tobacco and related products were rejected in favour of a final text that resembles what was agreed by the BECA in December.
Thailand: The government has approved a draft National Tobacco Control Plan for 2022-2027. Despite recent advocacy efforts towards legalising e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products, no such move is foreseen in the the plan. In January the Digital Economy and Society Ministry reportedly established a working group tasked with exploring possible legalisation of e-cigarettes.
Mongolia: The parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Policy has held a discussion on tobacco use and the legal environment. Committee chair M Oyunchimeg said that drafting of amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control, which will align national regulation with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is under way and should be finalised by June. “It is necessary to discuss the issue of legalising e-cigarettes, banning domestic smoking, and improving the regulation of licences for production, export and import,” Oyunchimeg said. She announced that the Excise Tax Law would also be amended to prevent reduce risk factors. Health minister Ts Erdembileg said that between 2017 and 2019 the volume of e-cigarettes imported into Mongolia had increased 68-fold.
Italy: The Customs and Monopoly Agency (ADM) is to appeal against the ruling by the Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) of Lazio that overturned part of an ADM circular of March 2021 which ordered the disposal of all e-liquids without tax stamps from 1st January 2022, media reports.
Iceland: A bill amending Law 87/2018 on electronic cigarettes and refills to introduce a ban on e-cigarette flavourings “that may appeal to children” will be introduced to the Althingi (parliament) on 25th February.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Bill on the Control of Tobacco and Other Products for Smoking will be discussed in the upper chamber of Parliament tomorrow, 17th February. The bill to regulate nicotine-containing e-cigarettes proposes a ban on sales via vending machines and online, online advertising, and vaping in enclosed public places. It would limit nicotine concentration to 20 mg/ml and e-liquid refills to a maximum of 10 ml or cartridges of 2 ml.
Ukraine: Bill 5719, adopted yesterday, 15th February, provides for a change in the mechanism of crediting and distribution of retail tax between local budgets as of 1st April 2022. This relates to an amendment to the Tax Code, adopted at the end of 2021, requiring producers or importers to declare maximum retail prices for tobacco products and e-liquids to the tax authority. The amendment also switched responsibility for paying retail tobacco and e-liquid tax from retailers to manufacturers and/or importers. The tax rate is 5% of the tax base, which is the value of the maximum retail prices of tobacco products and e-liquids, including VAT and excise tax.
US: Altria has announced that an administrative law judge has dismissed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s claims against Altria and Juul Labs over the tobacco giant’s 2018 investment in the e-cigarette company, which allegedly violated anti-competition laws. This preliminary decision is subject to review by the FTC and may be appealed.
US: The US Senate has confirmed Robert Califf to be commissioner of the FDA by a 50-46 vote, as expected following the recent cloture vote.
Federal: The US Senate was set to vote today on Robert Califf's nomination as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. At the end of debate yesterday, a cloture motion was agreed to by a close vote (49-45, with six not voting). A cloture motion is invoked to end a debate quickly, limiting further consideration of a pending proposal to 30 hours.
Spain: The Ministry of Health has launched an awareness campaign against smoking and vaping outdoors in places commonly frequented by other people, such as beaches, parks and restaurant and bar terraces. Although it is not prohibited to smoke in such areas, the campaign aims to reduce passive smoking and vaping. The government revealed last year its intention of prohibiting smoking and vaping on terraces.
EU: The full European Parliament was considering today, 15th February, whether to approve the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA) report in full or to propose further changes. A number of recommendations in the report could have a significant impact on the future of vaping in the EU – such as a proposal to ban e-liquid flavours that appeal to minors and non-smokers in the upcoming revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).