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UK: Police and trading standards officers in County Durham say they have seized almost £100,000 worth of illegal e-cigarettes and cigarettes following multiple complaints about under-age sales of vaping products and illegal nicotine levels. The operation has so far removed 4,802 illegal vapes from sale, ranging from 2,500 puffs to 10,000, according to the police announcement.
US - federal: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced it had “filed civil money penalty (CMP) complaints against four tobacco product manufacturers for manufacturing and selling e-liquids without marketing authorization”. This is the first time the FDA has taken this action to enforce the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act’s premarket review requirements for new tobacco products.
Croatia: The Croatian Institute of Public Health organised a roundtable to mark national non-smoking day, at which health experts discussed the harms of tobacco. It included a lecture on the effects of vaping on cardiovascular health. While it was concluded that smoking cessation is the best option for the prevention of serious illness, harm reduction was not discussed.
Germany: The Bundesrat will vote on 3rd March on Bavaria’s initiative for a ban on disposable e-cigarettes. This follows the recommendation by the Bundesrat Environment and European Union Questions Committee that the federal government advocate an effective ban on the marketing of disposables at both national and EU level.
UK: England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty has said in a widely reported speech that he finds the marketing of e-cigarettes to children appalling and that it was clear some products are intended to appeal to kids. However, he also underlined the harm-reduction aspect of vaping, telling the parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee: “Everyone agrees, I think, that it is far safer for someone to vape than to smoke.”
UK: Nottinghamshire Fire Service has warned of fire risks associated with the improper use and disposal of e-cigarettes. “We strongly recommend that people do not modify or tamper with any e-cigarette,” it said. “If the e-cigarette is rechargeable then make sure the correct charger is used. For single-use or disposable e-cigarettes, you must dispose of them in the correct manner so they don’t create a fire hazard at a waste collection site.”
Germany: Following Bavaria’s call for an EU-wide ban on disposable e-cigarettes, the Bundesrat has published a committee recommendation calling on the federal government to advocate an effective ban on the marketing of disposable e-cigarettes at both national and EU level.
US - Hawaii: The Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection has recommended that Senate Bill 1447 be passed with amendments. The bill would leave counties the right to regulate the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products, as long as ordinances are not in direct conflict with state law or less stringent.
Vietnam: The Ministry of Finance is proposing an amendment to the Law on Special Consumption Tax to tax e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. It notes in its draft explanatory note that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends applying the same tax policy as for regular cigarettes, which are taxed in Vietnam at 75%. The draft is open for consultation and no deadline has been set. Heated tobacco is banned in Vietnam, while e-cigarettes are currently unregulated.
Philippines: The Department of Health and Industry announced today that it was stepping up enforcement of regulations governing vaping, heated tobacco and other novel tobacco products. The department has issued violation notices to establishments selling non-compliant products with illegal markings or characters such as cartoons and youth influencers, and names suggesting flavours. Press reports that the agency confiscated over PHP860,000 ($15,600) worth of e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products.
India: Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said yesterday that the central government is working on amending several laws regulating tobacco, namely the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, the Food Safety and Standards Act, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, to cover new products, press reports.
Malaysia: Deputy finance minister Steven Sim said yesterday that tax on e-cigarette products can be implemented once the Ministry of Health has finished examining the legal issues around vaping, press reports. “There may be an announcement in the Budget,” Sim added.
Malaysia: Answering a parliamentary question, the health minister Zaliha Mustafa said yesterday that she intends soon to reintroduce the 2022 Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, which would ban the sale of vaping products to anyone born after 1st January 2007, “so enforcement can begin in 2024”.
Kazakhstan: The Ministry of Health has drawn up a proposed decree on graphic warnings about the dangers of using heated tobacco products, e-cigarettes and e-liquids. The draft is open to public consultation until 3rd March.
Czech Republic: Regular checks by regional public health officials in the city of Olomouc have seized “a significant number” of wrongly labelled disposable e-cigarettes containing more than the permitted dose of nicotine, media reports. Two fines of CZK8,000 (€335) were imposed on the sellers.
EU: A public consultation on the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and Tobacco Advertising Directive (TAD) opened today and will run until 16th May. The second of three consultation stages, it comes after the call for evidence and will be followed by a targeted stakeholder consultation. Once the full consultation process is complete, the European Commission will produce its draft proposal for revised directives.
Thailand: Deputy prime minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday ordered police and customs to strictly enforce the law and block e-cigarettes from entering the country. The Health Promotion Fund Committee was tasked with carrying out campaigns to raise awareness about the harms of e-cigarettes and to prevent young people from vaping. In January, customs officers uncovered 45 cases of illegal imports of e-cigarettes worth around THB4.15m ($120,000).
Israel: The Tax Authority has told ECigIntelligence that finance minister Bezalel Smotrich today signed a decree to lower the tax on vaping products. The decree sets excise duty on e-liquids and disposable e-cigarettes at 145% of the wholesale price, plus ILS4.64 ($1.30) per ml, up to a total limit of ILS8.90 ($2.50) per ml; the duty was previously 182% of the wholesale price, plus ILS5.51 ($1.50) per ml, with a minimum of ILS10.56 ($3) per ml. The order will be in effect until 16th February 2025, subject to approval by the Knesset Finance Committee within 60 days.
Thailand: A meeting of the Consumer Protection Committee yesterday concluded that the ban on e-cigarette sales should be maintained.
US - Texas: Senate Bill 920 has been introduced, which would ban the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products with any flavour other than that of tobacco.
EU: The European Commission today answered a parliamentary question submitted by Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal on the inclusion of new nicotine products in the revision of the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED). Economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the revision of the TED was “currently being finalised”, and that “it aims to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, by adapting the rules to new developments and market trends while closing possible loopholes in the EU excise system”.
EU: The European Commission today answered a parliamentary question submitted by Swedish MEP Johan Nissinen on the promotion of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches to curb smoking. Health and food safety commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the Commission was currently evaluating the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and that “any scientific, technical and market developments concerning novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products will be carefully considered, including experience from other jurisdictions”. She added: “The consumption of e-cigarettes is not limited to established smokers, with a high level of experimentation observed among young people.”
India: The national Ministry of Health has written to all state health ministries asking them to ensure compliance with the statutory e-cigarette ban, press reports. The letter expresses concern over the availability of e-cigarettes online and in convenience stores near schools, giving young people easy access to vaping products.
Egypt: The head of the Tobacco Division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Ibrahim El Imbabi, told a seminar on the controlling of nicotine product imports and exports that the division is currently working with the Tax Authority on creating a tariff and specific customs duty for disposable e-cigarettes, press reports. E-liquids are currently subject to a tax of EGP2 ($0.06) per ml and a health insurance charge amounting to 10% of the selling price.
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.
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.