UK: Junior health minister Neil O’Brien yesterday told MPs during a debate on under-age vaping that Trading Standards was to receive an additional £3m to enforce the age restrictions. Officers will undertake more test purchasing, remove illegal products from shops and act to block imports, with companies that fail to comply with the law being held accountable.
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Australia: The government has announced an intention to take firm action on vaping products, including banning the import of nicotine-free e-cigarettes, which will only be sold at pharmacies. Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are already heavily restricted and can only be acquired upon prescription at pharmacies. The government is also planning to ban flavours and impose neutral packaging. At the same time, they plan to ease the conditions for prescribing e-cigarettes, so smokers wishing to quit tobacco can access them more easily. Disposable single-use e-cigarettes are planned to be prohibited. No specific date for the measures to be implemented has been announced yet.
Slovenia: Excise duty on e-liquids rose yesterday to €0.21 per ml for nicotine-containing and €0.10 per ml for nicotine-free liquids, as laid out last December. Those rates will apply until 1st November, when they will rise again to €0.23 per ml per nicotine-containing and €0.11 for nicotine-free e-liquids.
Ireland: The Ministry of Health says the Public Health (Tobacco Inhaling Products) Bill is expected to be passed soon and come into force in July, press reports. It would mean a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids to under-18s, and on vending-machine sales.
Germany: Federal drugs commissioner Burkhard Blienert has called for a ban on sweet and fruity flavours for e-cigarettes, saying they make vaping more attractive, especially to young people, press reports.
US - Illinois: Cook County has introduced an ordinance to ban the sale of flavoured liquid nicotine products. With a population of over 5m, Cook County is the most populous county in Illinois and the second most populous in the US. It includes the City of Chicago, which banned the sale of flavoured vaping products three years ago, but allowed flavoured tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, to remain on sale.
Russia: President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill tightening regulation of e-cigarettes and e-liquids. The new law restricts retail sale of devices in line with the rules that already apply to e-liquids; bans flavours and additives that enhance nicotine dependence; prohibits discounts on devices and bans their display in stores. From 1st September e-liquids will be subject to a minimum price, to be determined by the government.
Dominican Republic: Members of the centre-left Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), the ruling party, have reaffirmed support for a bill to regulate e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices, including banning their sale to under-18s, press reports. The bill also has the backing of the opposition Fuerza del Pueblo (People’s Force) party.
Lithuania: Veronika Masalienė, director of the Association of Manufacturers and Importers (GIA) has issued a public reminder that used e-cigarettes, including disposables, must not be thrown in general waste, media reports. They should be disposed of in containers for electronic devices, available in big supermarkets, returned to e-cigarette stores, taken to a hazardous waste company, or delivered to bulk waste collection sites.
Serbia: Deputy health minister Jelena Janković has told media the ministry is hoping the smoking ban in cafes and restaurants will be adopted before the end of the year. Previous reports suggested the ban would also extend to vaping and heated tobacco, however as the official proposal has not been made public, it is unclear if the bill might make an exception for tobacco alternatives.
UK: Prime minister Rishi Sunak has told MPs that he recognises concern over the impact of disposable e-cigarettes on the environment and their appeal to children. He mentioned the ongoing call for evidence on youth vaping and added: “The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is looking actively at what changes in legislation might be needed to ensure that the vaping sector foots the bill for the collection and treatment of its used products.”
Germany: The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has updated the list of notified e-cigarette products, which now contains 315,432 vapour products. Only products notified at least six months ago are listed.
Israel: The Ministry of Health has issued a warning against the use of Librette e-cigarettes, following comments from the Committee for the Investigation of Public Deception. The ministry said advertising for the product misled consumers by claiming it cleansed the lungs and helped quit smoking.
Sweden: The Public Health Agency has updated a publicly available list of notified e-cigarettes and refill containers. There are 13,493 vapour products on the list.
Slovakia: A draft amendment to the Act on the Production, Labelling and Sale of Tobacco Products that would bring the regulation of nicotine-free e-cigarettes in line with that of nicotine-containing ones has been submitted to the National Council (parliament) and should be considered at a session beginning 2nd May, media reports. If adopted, the change could come into force in September.
Germany: Federal drug commissioner Burkhard Blienert has called for stricter rules on tobacco advertising, including e-cigarettes, after a survey of 1,383 people conducted by the Federal Drug Commission found that three-quarters supported a complete ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. “The over-presence of large-scale advertising for alcohol, for tobacco and e-cigarettes at kiosks and petrol stations, and for gambling on television, is a major problem for Germany’s consumer protection, youth and health policies,” Blienert said. “Politicians can’t ignore that any longer.”
Lithuania: The Department of Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control is inviting school pupils in grades 10-12 to enter a competition on the prevention of vaping. Classes are asked to prepare and submit a poster on the theme “You don’t need it” by 16th May, in time for World No Tobacco Day on 31st May.
Israel: Following the death of a 16-year-old, allegedly related to vaping, a parliamentary Special Committee for the Rights of the Child yesterday discussed e-cigarette control. While opposition members argued that the dangers of e-cigarettes far outweigh any potential benefits and called for a complete ban, members of the ruling coalition were less dogmatic. Limor Son Har-Melech of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party denied any link between vaping and death. Tali Gottlieb of the Likud party said there was no need for a ban but called for a campaign to intensify control over e-cigarettes, while fellow Likud member Eli Dellal proposed raising the purchasing age to 21.
US - Louisiana: House Bill 635 has been introduced, which would increase the tax rate on vaping products to 15% of the retail sales price.
EU: Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal has submitted a question to the European Commission asking whether it sees any conflict of interest in the awarding of the Single Framework Contract for Support Actions in the Field of Tobacco Control to the European Network for Smoking Prevention (ENSP). According to Skyttedal, “the ENSP lobbies the Commission on tobacco policy and advocates for a total ban on safer nicotine products”. She also asked how the Commission will ensure that a broad range of views is taken into account in its tobacco policy.
UK: Prime minister Rishi Sunak has criticised the vaping industry for designing ads and flavours that appeal to children. He said a “crack-down squad” was focused on enforcing the age restriction and highlighted the ongoing consultation on disposables, youth uptake and compliance.
India: A former Parliament member has published an academic paper concluding that the national ban on e-cigarettes ordered by the government in 2019 has been unsuccessful. Rajeev Gowda said the country should lift the ban and introduce strict regulation instead to counter the health risks associated with unregulated black-market vapour products.
Vietnam: Ngo Khai Hoan, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said during a seminar on the regulation of new generation tobacco products that a draft amendment to Decree 67/2013, regulating heated tobacco and e-cigarettes, is expected to be submitted to the government in the second quarter of 2023.
EU: The independent European Ombudsman has found a lack of transparency in meetings between the European Commission and tobacco lobbyists, suggesting that it amounts to maladministration. The ombudsman was concerned about a failure to publish details of the Commission’s meetings with lobbyists, and a failure to keep minutes of all meetings that took place in 2020 and 2021. The Commission has been asked to respond to the preliminary findings by mid-July.
US - General: Juul Labs and its former investor Altria have reached a settlement with the state of Minnesota over Juul’s alleged deceptive marketing. Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison said: “One of my goals in bringing this case was to send a message: we will not tolerate youth marketing of nicotine products in Minnesota. My office will continue to do its part to protect kids from getting hooked on these harmful products.” Juul has now settled with 48 states and territories, and the company’s priority remains securing authorisation of its premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs).
US - Texas: House Bill 4481 is scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, 17th April. The bill would establish a directory of e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine products sold in Texas, and require manufacturers of all such products to certify annually that they agree to comply with the bill’s provisions.
Australia: The South Australia state government has proposed extending restrictions on vaping in outdoor public places, press reports. E-cigarette use would be prohibited on beaches, at public swimming pools, and within 10 m of schools and 5 m of shopping centres.
Russia: Bill 310882-8 on the state regulation of production and circulation of tobacco and nicotine-containing products has passed its first reading in the State Duma. The bill would introduce state licensing of production, storage, import and export of tobacco and nicotine-containing products, including raw materials. It would establish mandatory state registration of technological equipment used in the production of those products. And it is expected that the Federal Service for Regulation of the Alcohol Market (Rosalkogolregulirovanie) would be given authority over tobacco and nicotine-containing products. Amendments to the bill may be submitted by 11th May before the second reading.
Netherlands: The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) carried out an inspection at the weekend of 35 shops in The Hague, of which 23 were found to be selling e-cigarettes to minors without age verification. Owners of those shops now face fines ranging from €1,360 to €9,000.