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France: A bill to regulate the activities of influencers on social media and electronic platforms, banning any direct or indirect promotion of nicotine-containing products, has been approved by a joint committee after the National Assembly and the Senate were unable to reach agreement on the details. The bill was accelerated, enabling it to be approved after just one reading in each chamber. The exact date of its entry into force is still uncertain.
Slovenia: Ahead of tomorrow’s World No Tobacco Day (31st May), the Ministry of Health has published a statement on progress towards a “Slovenia free of tobacco and nicotine 2040” envisaged in the National Tobacco Strategy 2022-2030. The ministry warns against new tobacco and nicotine products, and cites plans, currently under discussion by ministers, to bring nicotine pouches under the tobacco law, to classify heated tobacco products as smoking products, and to transpose the EU-wide heated tobacco flavour ban into national law.
Americas: Ahead of tomorrow’s World No Tobacco Day (31st May), Jarbas Barbosa, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has warned that novel tobacco and nicotine products “threaten to undo decades of gains against tobacco use”. He said: “The tobacco industry and its allies do not rest. Currently, they spread a lot of misleading information that promotes, especially among young people, the use of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.”
Turkey: The re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a third term as president, while the People’s Alliance led by his Justice and Development (AKP) party secured a majority in Parliament, is unlikely to lead to any opportunity for a legal market in heated tobacco. In 2017, Parliament, led by the AKP, failed to pass a bill to legalise heat-not-burn tobacco products. However, in 2020 the AKP passed Law No. 2149/2020 banning the use and circulation of heated tobacco.
Germany: In answer to a question put by Bundestag member Rita Hagl-Kehl of the governing Social Democratic Party (SPD), state secretary Ophelia Nick said the commissioner for addiction and drug issues, Burkhard Blienert, had announced that he would work to restrict tobacco advertising and that existing regulations on the marketing and sponsorship of nicotine would be reviewed.
Germany: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment have notified through the European Commission’s TRIS database an ordinance on the tax rates and points system for the disposable plastics fund, which affects tobacco filters containing plastic. The ordinance sets an annual fee of €8,972 per kg. The standstill period ends on 30th August.
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.
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.