Russia: The Ministry of Agriculture has drafted a bill, with the backing of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to block websites selling tobacco and nicotine products. Online sales of e-cigarettes are prohibited by federal law. The ministry told media the bill would amend Federal Law 149-FZ on information technology.
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US - general: A cross-party group of 13 prominent US senators have written an open letter to Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra, drawing his attention to “the repeated failures of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the tobacco and e-cigarette market”. The senators claim: “Some of the most popular e-cigarettes used by children today do not have market authorization but are on store shelves only because the FDA has granted a free pass and decided to exercise enforcement discretion.”
Slovenia: The Ministry of Finance has told ECigIntelligence that approximately €1.83m was raised in tax revenue on nicotine-containing e-liquids in 2022, up from €120,000 the previous year. Revenue from nicotine-free e-liquids in 2022 was approximately €360,000, up from just €30,000 in 2021.
EU: French MEP Anne-Sophie Pelletier last week submitted a parliamentary question asking the European Commission whether it plans to put forward the revision of the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED) before the end of its current term on 31st October 2024, saying: “There are fears that these successive postponements are due to interference by the tobacco industry.”
Spain: The Chamber of Deputies Health Committee has rejected by 19 votes to 16 a proposal from the centre-right People’s Party (PP) to study whether alternatives such as e-cigarettes might be useful in smoking cessation, press reports. While the Socialist Party argued that e-cigarettes bring some health risks, the left-wing Podemos has accused the PP of favouring “pharmaceutical lobbies”.
Czech Republic: The Ministry of Finance has told ECigIntelligence that the government is planning to revisit its tax policy with the forthcoming revision of the EU Tobacco Excise Directive, which could mean the introduction of excise duty on e-liquids. The updated Council Directive 2011/64/EU is expected to be presented in the first half of this year.
Russia: The State Duma Committee on Youth Policy is preparing a set of proposals to tackle e-cigarettes, according to its chairman, Artem Metelev. He said one of the proposals would be for age restrictions on the purchasing of vaping-related products.
Austria: The Austrian Association of Waste Management Companies has issued a statement calling for a ban on disposable e-cigarettes, which it calls “a dangerous environmental sin”. Association president Gabriele Jüly said: “Disposable e-cigarettes are a controversial throwaway product: they are expensive to produce, have a short life span and waste scarce raw materials. Education about the environmental and health risks for consumers is absolutely necessary and a sales ban is the only consequence.” A public survey by the association found 83% of 1,000 respondents backed a ban.
Switzerland: The Great Council of the Canton of Ticino has approved an amendment of the Health Promotion and Health Coordination Act to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s and extend the ban on indoor smoking to e-cigarettes. Switzerland has no federal law restricting e-cig sales to minors, but some cantons, including Basel, Bern and Geneva, have imposed their own rules.
US - Vermont: A hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare has been scheduled for 22nd February on Senate Bill 18, which would ban flavoured tobacco products and e-liquids.
Russia: The lower chamber of the parliament, the State Duma, is discussing possible measures to regulate the sale of tobacco products, including the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes, press reports. Deputy Biysultan Khamzayev of the governing United Russia party said packets of all brands would have to be in plain green, with the brand name only “in the mandatory size and font” and a health warning statement in accordance with the law. There was no mention in the debate of e-cigarette packaging.
US - Vermont: House Bill H204 has been introduced, which would ban the sale of tobacco products, e-liquids, or tobacco substitutes in any flavour other than tobacco.
Ireland: The Health Service Executive (HSE) is analysing claims, made by a British newspaper, that some Elfbar e-cigarettes may contain more than the legal level of nicotine, press reports. The trade association Vape Business Ireland said it was concerned about the possibility that non-compliant products were being sold in the country.
Germany: The Federal Office of Statistics has released figures showing that €42.5m was collected last year in taxes on the sale of 266,018 litres of e-liquids and e-liquid constituents. E-liquids, with or without nicotine, became taxable in Germany on 1st July 2022.
US - New York: Senate Bill S4399 has been introduced, which would ban all retailing of flavoured nicotine vapour products.
UK: Gateshead Council in the Northeast of England has called on residents to recycle disposable e-cigarettes at their nearest recycling centre or take them to the nearest large supermarket, which has a legal obligation to accept them for recycling.
UK: Swindon Borough Council has announced that it has joined other local authorities in calling for the government to bring forward a new Tobacco Control Plan for England. A letter coordinated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and signed by councillors urges the health secretary Steve Barclay to adopt a ‘polluter pays’ levy on tobacco companies.
Germany: The Bundesrat Environment Committee will discuss Bavaria’s call for an EU-wide ban on disposable e-cigarettes on 16th February. The Environment Ministry of the state of Thuringia has also expressed a view, agreeing on the “attempt to tackle the problem of disposable e-cigarettes at EU level” but saying a ban on short-life batteries should only be considered if they do not meet the legal requirements for recyclability.
Israel: Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and finance minister Bezalel Smotrich are reportedly to discuss a possible cut in vaping tax. Smotrich is said to believe e-cigarettes should not be taxed comparably to more harmful combustible cigarettes. The budget is due to be delivered to the prime minister tomorrow and debated ten days later. It will be referred to the Knesset (parliament) by 23rd March, to be voted on by 29th May.
Egypt: Health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told a press conference that media companies were breaking the tobacco control law by indirectly advertising tobacco and portraying smoking as normal and culturally acceptable in TV dramas. He said he was also concerned about increasing advertising of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco. Akram Radwan, a member of the Health Committee, suggested banning TV from portraying the use of any tobacco product.
UK: Conservative MP Caroline Johnson yesterday presented a cross-party bill to prohibit the sale of disposable e-cigarettes. The bill will have a second reading on 24th March. A ban on disposables is also being considered in Scotland, where the government is reviewing evidence on their environmental impact.
Hungary: The Supervisory Authority for Regulatory Affairs has told ECigIntelligence that a total of 10,855,642 ml of e-liquid was sold in Hungary in 2022. This information is retrieved from the system to which every national tobacco shop must submit information on daily stock levels and turnover of all vaping products.
US - general: Following the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s scathing report to FDA commissioner Robert Califf on the agency’s tobacco program, the American Vapor Manufacturers Association (AVA) said “FDA officials met with four organizations that are hostile to e-cigarettes as a tobacco harm reduction tool to discuss Reagan-Udall’s findings in the hours and days following its publication,” media reports. Those organisations were reportedly the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the American Thoracic Society.
UK: Derby City Council has raised concerns over disposable e-cigarettes, naming a recycling centre where they can be taken, but saying “an even better choice is to invest in a reusable vape kit”. The council also committed to removing counterfeit and non-compliant products off the market and issued a warning about Trading Standards testing which found arsenic, lead and formaldehyde in counterfeit e-liquids.
Germany: The state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein has called on the state government to support the Bavarian government’s plea for a campaign to ban disposable cigarettes at federal and EU level. “Disposable e-cigarettes produce a lot of e-waste and are literally a fire hazard,” said the motion’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) sponsor, Sandra Redmann.
Philippines: In a speech to the Senate yesterday, senator Pia Cayetano of the conservative Nacionalista Party expressed alarm about “vape flavours and designs, which are...very attractive to our youth”. Senate president Juan Miguel Zubiri said the Senate would pass a resolution calling on the Department of Trade and Industry to enforce the law.
US - Virginia: House Bill 2296 and Senate Bill 1350, which would have imposed tax at $0.066 per ml on nicotine e-liquids in closed systems, and 20% of the wholesale price in open systems, have been substituted, with all reference to tax removed.
Russia: Alexei Kurinny, deputy chair of the State Duma Committee on Health Protection, has said he does not support a complete ban on e-cigarettes, arguing that it would send vapers back to smoking, media reports. Health minister Mikhail Murashko said last week that the ministry backed the initiative of State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin to ban e-сigs.
Thailand: Education minister Treenuch Thienthong has called on all educational establishments to get tougher on vaping. “It is time for us to be strict, strict, and prevent the spread of e-cigarettes among children and young people,” she said.
Serbia: Speaking at a conference on cancer, health minister Danica Grujičić called for public support for a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. “The Ministry of Finance, which claims that the state makes money from cigarettes, must be pressured. The priority must be people’s health,” she said. Though she belongs to the same governing party as the finance minister, Sinisa Mali, Grujičić is the first health minister in several governments to speak about the need for a public smoking ban. She told the press today that a proposal had already been drawn up to ban smoking in hospitality premises, but that it has yet to be adopted by the government before it goes before the National Assembly. It is not yet clear whether or not the proposal – which has yet to be made public – will tackle vaping.
Egypt: The Tobacco Division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries is to hold a workshop with e-liquid importers in Cairo tomorrow to discuss strategies to combat illicit products, press reports.
US - New York: Governor Kathy Hochul has been criticised by state Democrats over the proposed statewide ban on tobacco and e-cigarette flavours, media reports. Critics say the proposed ban would be impractical to enforce and costly to state taxpayers. One said: “Small businesses in New York are at risk of being squeezed out by the proposed illegal tobacco regulations, which would only stimulate a larger underground market and encourage people to buy unregulated products.”
US - Texas: House Bill 1872 has been introduced, which would ban the sale or donation of e-cigarettes with any distinguishable taste or aroma other than that of tobacco or menthol.
Suriname: The Ministry of Health has emphasised that e-cigarettes should not be used by adolescents, young adults or pregnant women, media reports. The Dutch-speaking republic of Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in South America, with a population of just over 600,000.