From February of 2022, subscribers will be able to view and filter individual regulatory alerts per region. If you want to get our monthly compilations, visit our alerts Round-up section.
Switzerland: Today, 30th November, is the last day of the consultation on the draft bill to amend the Tobacco Products Act. The amendment, which was submitted for consultation after a majority of voters backed the Children Without Tobacco referendum proposal to ban all tobacco and e-cigarette advertising accessible to children and young people. The preliminary draft is expected to be sent to Parliament for revision in the first half of 2023.
Sweden: Following the impact assessment on the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED), European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie has said Sweden will maintain full freedom to set tax regimes and excise taxes for snus, Swedish media reports. The EU banned the sale of snus and chewing tobacco but made a permanent exception for Sweden when the country joined the EU in 1995.
Bulgaria: A bill to amend the Law on Excise and Tax Warehouses was approved at its first reading in the National Assembly. It would increase excise duties on tobacco products incrementally until 2026. Heated tobacco products would be taxed at BGN282 (€144) per kg in 2023, rising to BGN331 (€170) in 2024, BGN380 (€195) in 2025 and BGN400 (€205) in 2026.
Ukraine: Bill 8237 was registered yesterday in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), seeking to introduce an electronic excise system for tobacco products from 1st January 2026. It would replace the current excise tax stamps with electronic stamps, with a unique graphic element allowing the identification and tracking of all tobacco products.
EU: EU negotiators hope to reach a compromise on the new Battery Regulation during a final session on 9th December, media reports. The new regulation seeks to regulate the whole life cycle of batteries, from design to disposal, repealing the current EU Batteries Directive. It would cover a wide range of industrial and portable batteries, potentially including those in heated tobacco devices. However, it will provide only a general framework, leaving details to be provided in secondary EU legislation, such as delegated and implementing acts – around 32 of which are expected to complement the Battery Regulation.
Lithuania: Parliament has approved Bill XIVP-2036(2), strengthening the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department (NTAKD)’s power to shut down illegal advertising and online sales of tobacco and tobacco-related products. From 1st January, the NTAKD will be authorised to order internet and network service providers to remove illegal content.
UK: Asked if and when the long-anticipated Tobacco Control Plan might be published, junior health minister Lord Markham told the Lords (Parliament’s upper house) the government was “taking stock” of whether a fresh tobacco control plan was the best way to respond to the recommendations in the Khan review. The same view was shared a few days earlier in the House of Commons by junior minister Neil O’Brien, bringing into question the future of the plan.
Ukraine: Bill 8215, which would ban the importation and transporting of tobacco products from Belarus during the period of martial law and/or state of emergency, has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), media reports. The bill would also prohibit the importing of products whose owner or ultimate beneficiary is a legal entity registered in Russia or Belarus, or anyone on whom sanctions have been applied. If adopted, the bill will come into force the day after it is published.
EU: Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100, setting out a flavour ban on heated tobacco products across the EU, comes into force today, following the publication of the directive in the Official Journal on 3rd November. Member states now have until 23rd July 2023 to transpose the directive into their national legal frameworks.
Finland: According to the Finnish National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) and Finnish Customs, high-concentration nicotine pouches (more than 4 mg per pouch) can no longer be ordered even with a prescription from foreign online stores, but only from pharmacies in Finland, press reports.
Slovenia: Concerns over the widespread use of new tobacco and nicotine products by minors were raised yesterday during a public conference held by the National Institute of Public Health, press reports. The conference, which brought together academics and public officials, heard that novel products were as dangerous as traditional cigarettes.
Belgium: The Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment has told TobaccoIntelligence that the draft 2022-2028 Strategy for a Tobacco-Free Generation will be voted on on 14th December by an interministerial conference on public health made up of federal and regional ministers. The plan sets several objectives, including reducing the price gap between different tobacco products; keeping the tobacco industry out of the preparation and implementation of public health policies; improving health promotion policies; a ban on vending machine sales; tighter restrictions on long-distance sales and advertising; and improving the make-up of tobacco products.
Georgia: The parliamentary Human Rights Protection and Civil Integration Committee has discussed a proposed amendment to the Law on Tobacco Control, media reports. If it is adopted, the regulation of standardised plain packaging for tobacco products, which should come into force on 31st December 2022 under the current legislation, will be put back by two years. The proposal follows industry demands to postpone the regulation due to the war in Ukraine, which was the main manufacturer of tobacco products imported into Georgia.
UK: Tower Hamlets Council in London has announced the seizure by Trading Standards officers of 8,817 g of “illicit banned smokeless tobacco” as well as 640 counterfeit and ‘Potentially dangerous’ e-cigarettes that exceeded the nicotine cap.
France: A joint committee made up of seven assembly members and seven senators has failed to agree a common version of the 2023 Social Security Financing Bill after the Senate adopted a version that would introduce a specific tax category for heated tobacco amounting to €44 per 1,000 consumables plus 45.3% of the tax-inclusive retail sales price (TIRSP) in 2023, €45.50 per 1,000 plus 47.4% of TIRSP in 2024, and €46.40 per 1,000 plus 49.4% of TIRSP in 2025. The bill has now been sent back to the National Assembly for another reading.
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 TobaccoIntelligence that heated tobacco 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.
Bulgaria: The Ministry of Finance is drafting a bill to increase excise duties on tobacco products gradually until 2026, media reports. Heated tobacco products would be taxed at BGN282 (€144) per kg in 2023, BGN331 (€170) per kg in 2024, BGN380 (€195) per kg in 2025 and BGN400 (€205) per kg in 2026. The bill has not been introduced in the parliament yet. The previous government tried to increase the excise duties in June, before being dissolved following a no-confidence vote.
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 tobacco products by 3% in 2023; however, the exact rates are not mentioned in the bill. Starting in 2024, snus would be taxed at SEK508 (€47) per kg, nicotine pouches at SEK202 (€19) per kg, and chewing tobacco at SEK560 (€52) per kg. The Swedish Tax Agency told TobaccoIntelligence that depending on the authorities’ interpretation, there are two possible rates that may apply to heated tobacco consumables, either those on cigarettes or on other tobacco products. Cigarettes would be taxed at SEK1.78 (€0.16) per stick in 2024, while other tobacco products would be taxed at SEK2,166 (€200) per kg.
Italy: The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has updated the retail prices and excise duties on heated tobacco consumables.
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. If it is passed, the NTAKD will be authorised to order internet and network service providers to remove the illegal content.
Netherlands: Public health minister Maarten van Ooijen is investigating the possibility of a total ban on nicotine pouches, media reports. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) announced in November 2021 that pouches with more than 0.035 mg of nicotine per pouch could no longer be sold because they are “harmful to health”; now pouches could be banned entirely.
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. The WHO and the Health Board do not support the bill, saying it would weaken the current regulatory framework. The Ministry of Social Affairs welcomes the regulation of nicotine pouches but suggests a broader regulation of non-tobacco nicotine products, and like the other two bodies rejects the proposals on distance selling and point-of-sale display. The first reading of the bill is scheduled for 15th November.
EAEU: Representatives of all five Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia – attended a meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to discuss the regulation of nicotine-containing products. Members said all such products were “harmful” and that in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, heated tobacco products should be considered not as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) but as tobacco and “regulated as strictly as traditional tobacco products” as there was no evidence that they are any less harmful than cigarettes.
France: The Senate has approved an amendment to the 2023 Social Security Financing Bill presented by Republican senator Catherine Procaccia which would require the government to produce a report assessing the harmfulness of heated tobacco products in comparison to other tobacco and nicotine products, as well as the implementation of taxation system based on the products’ harmfulness.
Europe: The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a set of videos illustrating what it sees as the harms of heated tobacco products (HTP) and how they differ from e-cigarettes, along with some policy recommendations. It says: “The boundaries between these products are being rigorously blurred by the tobacco industry to confuse users and normalise the use of HTPs and ENDS.” The WHO also reminded regulators of its tobacco control guidance to curb the use of HTP, including recommending banning flavours that appeal to children, prohibiting use in indoor spaces where smoking is not permitted, and banning sales to minors.