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.
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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 email@example.com 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.
US - North Carolina: Senate Bill 174 has been enacted and signed by governor Roy Cooper. It amends the definition of vapour products for tax purposes, including all those containing nicotine “however derived”, thereby effectively including synthetic nicotine products under tax regulations.
Palau: President Surangel Whipps has signed into law an amendment to the Palau National Code banning the importation, distribution, sale, possession and use of e-cigarettes. Violators could risk up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $20,000. Palau is an island microstate in the western Pacific, with a population of just over 18,000.
Germany: The Federal Joint Committee responsible for determining which medications are available through health insurance has told ECigIntelligence that it has not yet decided whether e-cigarettes will be accepted as a smoking cessation medication. Deliberations are continuing and no deadline for a decision has been given.
Lithuania: MP Vytautas Kernagis last week registered Bill 2590, which would prohibit the combining of tobacco and other additives in e-cigarettes and e-liquids. All non-tobacco flavours have been banned in e-cigs since 1st July 2022, however, vaping products are reportedly still being sold with mixtures of tobacco and other flavours, such as fruits, berries or menthol, and this bill seeks to clarify the prohibition on smells and tastes. It would apply to both nicotine and non-nicotine products.
US - federal: The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability has announced that it is investigating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). Republican committee chairman James Comer has written to FDA commissioner Robert Califf, accusing the CTP of failing to effectively define and administer its tobacco and nicotine regulatory programmes, “[fostering] uncertainty in the marketplace and [allowing] unsafe and unregulated products to proliferate”. "A recent evaluation of CTP by the Reagan-Udall Foundation (RUF) found that CTP has not clearly set out the most basic elements of its tobacco and nicotine regulatory programs,” Comer said. He is requesting documents, communications, and a staff-level briefing related to the CTP’s activities.
Slovenia: A 30-day public consultation on a Ministry of Health bill to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured vaping products ends today. The bill would also bring nicotine-free vaping products under the Tobacco Law, making them subject to the same product restrictions and notification requirements as tobacco products.
Germany: The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has updated the list of notified e-cigarette products, which now contains 310,464 vapour products. Only products notified at least six months ago are listed.
US - Louisiana: House Bill 179 has been introduced, which would prohibit the sale or service of any e-liquid or vapour product with “a characterizing flavor” – the definition of which would ban all flavours but for tobacco.
Brazil: The director of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), Antonio Barra Torres, has told media that a resolution of the legal status of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco will probably be reached this year, possibly by the end of June. He said he did not want to anticipate whether that would involve prohibition or authorisation of the products because of the impact it would have on the market.
Germany: Customs officers have have seized 4.4 litres of untaxed e-liquids during an inspection in Potsdam, near Berlin. They found seven out of ten retailers failed to comply with the current Tobacco Tax Law. E-liquids have been taxed since 1st July 2022 and the transitional period allowing the sale of old stock ended on 12th February 2023.
Egypt: The Ministry of Health has issued a warning against the use of e-cigarettes, saying that the argument that they are less harmful than combustibles cigarettes is “completely untrue”. It adds that e-cigarettes contain “a huge amount” of nicotine and harmful toxins that can cause chronic diseases, damage the respiratory and digestive systems, and cause cardiovascular disease.
Netherlands: Figures from the national statistical office, Statistics Netherlands, show a significant increase in e-cigarette use among young people in 2022 compared to 2021. The biggest rise was in the 16-20 age group, where reported use of e-cigarettes went from 2.5% in 2021 to 8.8% in 2022, an increase of 252%. Among the 20-30 age group, it went up by 247% from 1.7% in 2021 to 5.9% in 2022. In the youngest group in which vaping was reported, 12-16 years, the number of e-cigarette users more than doubled from 0.8% in 2021 to 1.7% in 2022.
US - general: Juul Labs and its former major investor Altria face their first US trial this week over claims that they promoted e-cigarettes on social media to appeal to minors, Reuters reports.
Switzerland: A study conducted last year by the Swiss Addiction Foundation, funded by the Federal Office of Public Health, and involving 9,345 students found 7% of girls and 8% of boys aged 15 had used e-cigarettes in the preceding 30 days. The foundation is urging the government to take measures on advertising, sales, price, packaging and flavours.
Australia: The opposition National Party has proposed lifting the ban on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, press reports. The Nationals’ larger coalition partners the Liberals have in the past been in favour of the current regime, under which nicotine vapes can only be bought on prescription. Steve Robson, president of the Australian Medical Association, firmly opposed lifting the ban, saying children were already purchasing e-cigs despite age restrictions.
US - federal: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a new webpage listing all the tobacco products-related citizen petitions received by the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). A citizen petition is a way for individuals, regulated industry representatives, or consumer groups to petition the FDA to issue, amend, or revoke a regulation, or to take other administrative action.
Cambodia: During a seminar yesterday on e-cigarettes and related products, education minister Kim Sethany told school managers to ramp up enforcement of the ban on e-cigs and heated tobacco, which she said were widely known by Cambodian teenagers through advertising on social media, press reports. At the same forum, Mom Kong, director of the Cambodian Movement for Health, said e-cigarettes contained nicotine and other chemicals which enter users’ brains and “can lead to chronic lung disease, stroke and heart attack”.
UK: Though there are no immediate plans for a ban, the government is concerned by the increasing use of disposable vaping products, particularly by children, and their impact on the environment when they are thrown away, junior health minister Neil O’Brien said in reply to a parliamentary question. He said “a range of measures to address these issues” was being explored.
Taiwan: Amendments to tobacco legislation banning all types of e-cigarette and regulating heated tobacco products will come into force tomorrow. Heated tobacco products will have to undergo a health risk assessment before they can be sold in Taiwan. E-cigarette retailers risk fines of between TWD200,000 ($6,500) and TWD1m ($32,800), while anyone caught vaping could be fined TWD2,000 ($65) to TWD10,000 ($328).