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.”
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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.
Denmark: Health minister Sophie Løhde is planning to increase the tax on nicotine products, press reports. This comes after a study by the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark, which showed an increase in the use of nicotine and tobacco products among children and young people. According to the survey, 6.8% of children and adolescents in Denmark use e-cigarettes daily or occasionally. Løhde did not specify which products would be affected.
Russia: State Duma member Sultan Khamzaev, head of the Sober Russia project, has reportedly suggested to health minister Mikhail Murashko that purchases of tobacco and nicotine-containing products should be restricted to card payments only. He also suggested that banks and large retail chains should introduce an automatic block on bank cards issued to minors being used to buy such products.
United Arab Emirates (UAE): The National Rehabilitation Centre has warned against using e-cigarettes, saying that they stimulate addictive behaviour and harm health, and encourage non-smokers to use them in the belief that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
Russia: Bill 332229-8, setting a minimum price for nicotine e-liquids and banning flavours and additives that increase nicotine addiction, has passed its first reading in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Parliament. The list of banned additives will be determined by executive regulation. The bill is highly likely to succeed, but before it goes to president Vladimir Putin to be signed, it must pass a second and third reading and be approved by the upper chamber, the Federal Council.
Spain: The Ministry of Health has launched a public consultation on an amendment to Decree 579/2017, which regulates e-cigarettes and tobacco products. It aims to address various aspects, including packaging and exposure to vaping products, and to regulate nicotine-free e-cigs. Ideas and proposals can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org until 24th April.
UK - England: The government today announced a new “swap to stop” scheme intended to lower the smoking rate to 5% or below. Smokers across England will be offered a free vaping starter kit, while pregnant women will receive financial incentives involving vouchers, alongside behavioural support. The government will also consult on cigarette pack inserts with positive messages and information to help people to quit smoking.
Netherlands: The e-cigarette trade association Esigbond is taking the government to court in a bid to halt the ban on e-cig flavours due to come into force in October, press reports.
Ukraine: The Ministry of Finance has announced the government’s approval of changes to the regulation on excise tax stamps, increasing the stamp fees. The new fee for e-liquids is set at a rate of “about UAH0.16” (€0.004) per stamp, almost doubling the current fee of UAH0.091 (€0.0023). It is not yet clear when the new fees will take effect.
US - Maine: Bill LD 1558 has been introduced in the state Legislature, aiming to ban the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and stores containing pharmacies. The definition of “tobacco products” in the section that would be amended by this bill includes e-cigarettes.
Vietnam: The Ministry of Health has proposed a ban on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products over health concerns. According to the ministry, tobacco regulations and standards have not yet been adapted to these products. The Ministry of Trade and Industry was coordinating efforts in December to amend Decree 67/2013 on tobacco trading to regulate heated tobacco and e-cigarettes.
US - Arkansas: House Bill 1725 has passed the House and been sent to the Senate. Among its provisions, it would establish safety inspections for child-resistant packaging of tobacco, vapour and alternative nicotine products, and e-liquids; ban advertising of vaping and alternative nicotine products; and establish a manufacturers directory.
Russia: According to an announcement by the State Duma, a new bill being prepared will introduce new restrictions on e-cigarette purchasing age, advertising and product display. As all those areas are already subject to regulation, it is not clear how far restrictions will be increased. The relevant committees are expected to finalise drafting of the bill by 11th April. Periodical tax increases are said to be under consideration too – though regulation already in place stipulates incremental increases until 2025.