France: Health minister François Braun has once again expressed his intention to raise the excise duty on heated tobacco products through the 2024 Social Security Financing Bill, which is likely to be presented this autumn. The minister stated his goal of aligning the taxation of heated tobacco with that of traditional tobacco products.
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Finland: The industry association Vapers Finland has criticised the latest government proposal on nicotine pouches. The government intends to add a definition of “smokeless nicotine products” to the Tobacco Act, covering nicotine pouches and regulating them in the same manner as snus. This would mean a ban on their sale and distribution, and on importation except for specific exemptions. The comment period on the proposal ended last week.
Australia: The government of Queensland has passed legislation to strengthen the state’s anti-smoking and illicit tobacco laws and their enforcement. The Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023 introduces a licensing scheme for the sale of tobacco, expands the list of non-smoking areas and imposes tougher restrictions on cigarette and vape sales at licensed venues. The bill also introduces fines of AUD43,125 ($28,000) for supplying and AUD20,125 ($13,000) for storing illicit tobacco.
Switzerland: Following the adoption of the people’s initiative “Children without Tobacco”, which calls for a ban on tobacco and vaping advertising aimed at children and adolescents, the Federal Office of Public Health has presented a fact sheet revealing that the advertising ban set down in the Tobacco Products Act is to be extended to all print media and points-of-sale. Online advertising will remain legal as long as an age-verification system is in place. The initiative is expected to be implemented in 2026.
Czech Republic: The Ministry of Finance has published a bill which would introduce a tax of CZK3.45 (€0.15) per g on nicotine pouches from January 2024, and increase the tax on heated tobacco to CZK3,300 (€140) per kg, with further rises to follow.
Switzerland: The National Council Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxation has submitted a motion calling on the Federal Council to draft a report on the taxation of tobacco products and e-cigarettes. It says the report should address issues such as the categorisation of new products, the impact of taxes on the black market, and tax adjustments based on average market prices. Earlier this year, during a debate on amending the Tobacco Tax Act, the Committee for Social Security and Health called for tax to be extended to all tobacco and related products.
Belgium: British American Tobacco (BAT) is to take a challenge to Belgium’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, against the royal decree banning nicotine pouches, press reports. BAT will argue that health minister Frank Vandenbroucke did not wait for an opinion from the Superior Health Council and did not take into account recent scientific research on the subject before announcing the ban, which is due to come into effect on 1st October.
Lithuania: The Seimas (parliament) has approved the government’s 12-year agenda on drug, tobacco and alcohol control, which aims to reduce supply and consumption, media reports. The document recommends that controls should be prepared and implemented at municipal level.
US - federal: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has hired its first senior advisor for health equality. Charlene Le Fauve has 25 years’ experience of federal work related to health equality, dedicating her career to “advancing health equity and the health of under-served and under-represented populations through research and research workforce development”.
India: The Health Ministry has called for stricter enforcement of the statutory ban, which covers manufacturing, import, export, distribution and advertising of heated tobacco devices as well as e-cigarettes, including parts and accessories, press reports.
Ukraine: Bill 9315, prohibiting the sale of tobacco products, including heated and chewing tobacco, in duty-free shops, has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). If adopted, it will come into force on the first day of the month following its publication and remain in force as a temporary measure until the end of martial law or the state of emergency.
Czech Republic: The Ministry of Health has told TobaccoIntelligence that the ministerial decree on nicotine pouches, setting a limit of 12 mg of nicotine per pouch and regulating labelling and notification, has gone through the EU’s TRIS notification process without comment and is expected to come into force on 1st July. From that date, tobacco-free nicotine pouches must be notified to the Czech Republic via the EU Common Entry Gate (EU-CEG).
Egypt: The Public Prosecution in New Cairo has requested a police investigation into British American Tobacco (BAT) after a distribution company accused the tobacco giant of commercial fraud, media reports. Cult Creative Association said BAT had terminated its contract to distribute its Glo heated tobacco brand in Egypt in June 2022 without prior notice.
Portugal: Following the announcement by the Council of Ministers of a bill to amend the Tobacco Law, deputies from the governing Socialist Party have called the proposal “excessively prohibitionist” and are seeking to make changes once the bill reaches Parliament, press reports. One of the party’s deputies, Isabel Moreira, criticised the equation of heated tobacco with combustible cigarettes, saying “the effects on the lungs are monstrously different”. Among other things, the bill would implement the ban on heated tobacco flavours required by the European Commission, and require text and graphic health warnings on heat-not-burn (HnB) products.
EU: The minutes of a meeting of the Expert Group on Tobacco Policy held on 3rd May 2023 were published yesterday. During the meeting, chaired by DG-Santé and attended by representatives of 26 EU member states plus Iceland and Norway, the ongoing revision of the Council Recommendation on Smoke-free Environments, the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November (COP10), and the evaluation of the legislative framework for tobacco control were discussed, along with the upcoming 23rd July deadline for transposition of the Delegated Directive setting out the flavour ban for heated tobacco products.
Argentina: The government has sent Congress a proposal to adhere to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Argentina signed the convention in September 2003, but is one of the few countries in the world that has not ratified it. Among other things, the FCTC tackles the advertising, labelling and taxation of tobacco products.
Czech Republic: A bill introducing a flavour ban for heated tobacco products, as required by the European Commission, has been returned by the Senate to the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, with amendments – though these deal only with other public health issues. If the bill is adopted, the flavour ban will come into effect on 23rd October.
Estonia: The government has introduced a bill to increase excise duty on heated tobacco products and nicotine pouches to €112.40 per kg in 2024, €118 in 2025 and €124 in 2026.
Romania: A bill that would ban public use of heated tobacco has been submitted to the Senate. The use of heat-not-burn (HnB) devices is currently prohibited only on public transport; if the bill is passed it will also be banned in public buildings, indoor workplaces, health centres, cinemas, theatres and restaurants. It would also impose the flavour ban on heated tobacco products laid down by European Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100.
Finland: The Ministry of Health announced today that the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and other authorities will decide whether an interim ban on the sale of nicotine pouches should be imposed under the Chemicals Act. A government proposal to ban pouches by an amendment to the Tobacco Act was submitted to the EU Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS) at the end of April.
Malaysia: The Ministry of Health said yesterday that the tabling of the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022, which seeks to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2007, will be postponed to next month, instead of this month as originally planned, press reports.
Portugal: The Council of Ministers has announced that it will present a bill to transpose Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100 into national law, amending the Tobacco Law. It will introduce health warnings and a flavour ban for heated tobacco, extend the ban on smoking outdoors, and the ban on sales where smoking is prohibited. The bill is expected to be presented to Parliament this week.
US - Texas: House Bill 4722, which would tax non-tobacco nicotine products, has been passed by the House and now heads to the Senate. It would tax closed-system e-cigarettes, including disposables, at $0.07 per ml of nicotine e-liquid; open-system e-cigarettes at 3% of the wholesale price; and “alternative nicotine products” $1.22 per oz.
Chile: The Chamber of Deputies yesterday approved Bill 12626-11, which together with Bill 12632-11 seeks to explicitly include heated tobacco products in the law on tobacco. The bill, introduced four years ago and approved by the Senate in March 2021, also includes certain provisions on devices and their components. However, it needs to be approved again by the Senate since the Chamber of Deputies proposed several modifications.
EU: French MEP Jean-Paul Garraud has submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission about the European Ombudsman’s recent finding that there was a lack of transparency over meetings between the Commission and tobacco lobbyists. Garraud asks why the EC is not complying with the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which requires all interactions between public administrations and the tobacco industry to be transparent, and why the Commission can’t explain why the meetings were necessary.
Italy: The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has told TobaccoIntelligence that Article 39-ter of Legislative Decree 504/1995 extends the tax framework for heated tobacco to heated herbal products. The heated herbal product price needs to be registered with the ADM, excise duty applies as to heated tobacco, and products must bear a tax stamp. The tax warehouse framework also applies.