Paraguay: Health minister Julio Borba said yesterday that the ministry would tighten its control over sales of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, due to their increasing use by young people, press reports. Borba said vaping was “an entry gate to smoking” and that he will work with the National Health Surveillance Authority (Dinavisa) to find effective control mechanisms.
As of February 2022, subscribers can view and filter individual regulatory alerts per region. If you want to get our monthly compilations, visit our alerts round-up section.
Germany: Following a meeting last week when members of the Bundestag discussed a smoking cessation study financed by the Federal Joint Committee, the body responsible for determining what medical care is covered by statutory health insurance, one of the study team has told ECigIntelligence that e-cigarettes will be given to participants as a harm reduction product. The study has four stages: psychological counselling, nicotine replacement therapy, smoking cessation medication, and harm reduction products.
Sweden: Bill 2021/22:245, presented in May by the previous government, has been adopted by the Finance Committee and will be debated in Parliament in the coming weeks. The proposal aims to increase excise duty on e-liquids by 1%, starting in 2024. Highly concentrated e-liquids (from 15 to 20 mg/ml) would be taxed at SEK4,040 (€374), and other e-liquids at SEK2,020 (€187), per litre.
UK: Barking and Dagenham Council has reported the seizure of over 500 illicit disposable vapour products from two local shops by the London borough’s Trading Standards department. Both retailers were given written warnings and will continue to be monitored by council officers, with the threat of prosecution if they carry on selling the products.
Thailand: The Department of Disease Control has issued a warning against vaping, especially by young people. It said most products on the market made misleading claims about the health impacts of vaping, which attracts people to e-cigarettes, even though they are banned in Thailand. “The use of electronic cigarettes may result in disease and health hazards, especially severe pneumonia,” the announcement states.
UK: Stoke-on-Trent City Council has announced that its Trading Standards team has seized 5,000 illegal e-cigarettes, worth around £66,000, since April. It said the confiscated products exceeded the 2 ml tank volume limit – equivalent to “approximately 650 puffs” – and were incorrectly labelled. Councillor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for housing and environment, said: “Our team regularly carry out inspections and test purchases to check that premises are following their legal requirements.”
UK: Junior health minister Neil O’Brien has told MPs that the Department of Health and Social Care works with the Department of Education on communications to schools to prevent children from taking up vaping. “To raise awareness of the risks of vaping to children, we have updated information and advice online at the Better Health and Talk to Frank platforms,” O’Brien said.
Lithuania: Bill XIVP-2036(2) was today approved at its first reading in Parliament. The proposal aims to strengthen the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department (NTAKD)’s power to shut down illegal advertising and online sales of tobacco and tobacco-related products, including e-cigarette products. If it is passed, the NTAKD will be authorised to order internet and network service providers to remove the illegal content.
US - general: According to a new study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 3m middle and high school students reported using a “tobacco product” in 2022. The study assessed eight commercial products and concluded that for the ninth consecutive year e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product, followed by cigars, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
Russia: The Far Eastern Customs authority has examined 510 different types of e-cigarette imported into Russia in 2022, media reports. In 20 types, the nicotine content was reportedly found to be two to three times above the legal level, up to 61 mg/ml – the legal limit being 20 mg/ml. Products that exceed the limit may be confiscated and destroyed.
Estonia: The Board of Health, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the World Health Organization (WHO) are among bodies that have submitted comments on the Tobacco Act Amendment Bill. All three expressed disapproval of the parts of the bill that would amend the e-cigarette framework. The first reading of the bill is scheduled for 15th November.
South Korea: The Customs Service today announced that it will consult with the relevant ministries to revise the relevant laws to include synthetic nicotine under the definition of tobacco. The authority says it has developed a precise method of analysis to determine whether the nicotine contained in e-liquids is natural or synthetic, in response to importers of e-liquids falsely declaring tobacco-derived nicotine to be synthetic in order to avoid taxes.
Kyrgyzstan: The Cabinet of Ministers has set minimum retail prices for e-cigarette products, media reports. A price of KGS250 ($3) is set for nicotine-containing disposables from 1st January 2023, rising to KGS300 ($3.60) on 1st January 2024. A price of KGS1,300 ($15.50) is set for e-cigarette devices from 1st January 2023, rising to KGS1,400 ($16.70) on 1st January 2024.
Kyrgyzstan: Parliament member Ulan Bakasov has proposed banning vapour and e-cigarette products, introducing a bill “On the prohibition of the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic cigarettes”.
France: The Senate has approved an amendment to the 2023 Social Security Financing Bill presented by Republican senator Catherine Procaccia which aims to impose an excise duty of €6 per ml on disposable e-cigarettes, regardless of nicotine concentration, to discourage their use by young people.
US - California: As expected, voters in California yesterday passed Proposition 31 to uphold the 2020 legislation banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarette and tobacco products. Senate Bill 793 was delayed due to a referendum call by the industry, which gave the voters the final say. Many local jurisdictions in the state have already passed some sort of restriction on flavoured products, the sale of which will now be forbidden state-wide.
Chile: The Chamber of Deputies Health Committee yesterday heard the government’s comments on Bill 12626-11, which, together with Bill 12632-11, seeks to equate all vaping products, regardless of their nicotine content, with tobacco products. The Health Committee agreed in March to drop all provisions relating to vaping products, but they have been reintroduced. The committee has now set a new deadline of 17th November to end the discussion and decide on the bill, which also introduces certain provisions on e-cigarette devices and their components.
Malaysia: Caretaker minister of health Khairy Jamaluddin said today that if the National Front (Barisan Nasional) wins the upcoming general elections, to be held on 19th November, and he is reappointed to the post, he will reintroduce the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022, popularly known as the Generational End Game Bill, press reports. He added that if the Alliance of Hope, currently the largest opposition group, wins the elections, former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad will also ensure that the bill is tabled. Dzulkefly was a member of the parliamentary committee reviewing the bill, which proposes a ban on the sale of vaping products based on the potential purchaser’s birthdate. An analysis of the impact of the Malaysian elections on the sector is available in our Policy Radar.
US - California: Proposition 31, which aims to uphold Senate Bill 793, is on the state ballot today. A “yes” vote would ban the sale of flavoured tobacco and vaping products in California.
Poland: A bill to amend the Excise Duty Act has been introduced, aimed at amending the definition of e-liquids to guarantee that all those on the market are taxed. This is in response to some retailers selling e-liquids as air fresheners in order to avoid excise duty. E-liquids are taxed in Poland whether or not they contain nicotine.
Europe: The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns about what it sees as the alarming increase in vaping by young people in Europe. It says “there is a concern that ENDS can act as gateways to conventional smoking” and that “ENDS are often used to complement cigarette smoking, meaning people become dual users rather than substituting one for the other”. The WHO also reminded regulators of its tobacco control guidance, including recommending banning flavours that appeal to children, prohibiting use in indoor spaces where smoking is not permitted, and banning sales to minors.
Australia: The South Australian state government has launched a plan to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among school students by providing training and preventive campaigns, press reports. A report by the state’s commissioner for children and young people found two thirds of the 1,000 teenagers consulted had tried vaping and 25% used e-cigarettes regularly.
EU: ECigIntelligence has obtained an incomplete copy of the impact assessment report accompanying the proposal for a council directive amending the Tobacco Excise Directive. This or a very similar draft is to be discussed on 7th December. In order to take into account economic differences within the EU, the European Commission is proposing an index whereby the minimum tax would be periodically adjusted for each individual member state dependent on purchasing power parity (PPP). There would be corrective criteria to avoid huge differences between low- and high-income countries. The EU intends to substantially increase all tobacco and nicotine taxes, as well as to encompass new products and any that emerge later by creating a “catch-all” category. The working draft proposes an EU minimum of €0.10 per ml for e-liquids with less than 15 mg/ml of nicotine and €0.30 per ml for those with more than 15mg/ml. Nic-free e-liquids would also be affected. ECigIntelligence will publish further details of the proposed taxes tomorrow in our news analysis section.
Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Superior Court has dismissed a challenge to the town of Brookline’s Tobacco-Free Generation bylaw, which will remain in effect, town administrator Chas Carey has announced. The bylaw prohibits anyone born after 1st January 2000 from purchasing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in the town. “The dismissal of this challenge is a positive outcome, validating decades of tobacco control work in local government to reduce access to tobacco and nicotine products and prevent disease for future generations,” the town’s public health commissioner Sigalle Reiss said. “Brookline has laid the path that other communities may now follow as they seek to keep harmful tobacco products out of the hands of generations to come.” Brookline, which lies in the Boston metropolitan area, has a population of around 60,000.