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US - general: Philip Morris International (PMI) today announced an agreement with Altria to end the companies’ commercial relationship covering Iqos in the US as of 30th April 2024. PMI will pay a total of $2.7bn – $1bn of which was paid when they made the agreement, the remainder will be paid by July 2023. PMI’s CEO Jacek Olczak said: “This agreement gives PMI full US commercialisation rights to Iqos within approximately 18 months and provides a clear path to fulfilling the product’s full potential in the world’s largest smoke-free market, leveraging PMI’s full strategic and financial commitment to Iqos’s success.”
Belgium: Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has proposed a ban on tobacco vending machines in bars, restaurants and catering facilities, allowing them only in supermarkets. The ban would include vaping products and nicotine pouches as well as conventional tobacco products. The bill is moving forward and has been voted on at its first reading.
EU: Following a Freedom of Information request by TobaccoIntelligence, the European Commission has disclosed the comments sent by Croatia, Hungary and Sweden to the Belgian TRIS notification of a Royal Decree seeking to ban the manufacture and sale of nicotine pouches. All three countries question whether the protection of public health could be achieved through less restrictive measures, while Hungary considers that “the ban treats nicotine pouches less favourably than products with a possibly worse risk profile available on the market (e.g. conventional cigarettes)”. TobaccoIntelligence will publish a report on the matter in the next few days.
France: A number of amendments to the 2023 Social Security Financing Bill (nos. 46, 1217, 1442, 1979, 2329, 2862, 2921 and 3272) have been put forward by different political parties, all with the aim of taxing heated tobacco by weight in order to encompass possible future products. As it currently stands, the bill would tax heated tobacco consumables at a rate of €44 per 1,000 units plus an ad valorem tax of 51.4%. Meanwhile, president Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party (formerly En Marche!) has introduced an amendment to tax nicotine pouches at €22 per kg.
US - Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Superior Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a local by-law banning the sale of tobacco products in the town of Brookline to anyone born after 1st January 2000. The court saw no conflict between the town law and state law, which specifically allows cities and towns to restrict the sale of tobacco products.
EU: Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal has submitted a parliamentary question asking the European Commission whether it intends to include new nicotine products such as nicotine pouches in the ongoing revision of the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED), whether it agrees that new non-tobacco nicotine products play an important role in reducing the number of smokers and, if so, how this will affect the revision of the TED. Skyttedal is a member of the Christian Democrats party, affiliated to the centre-right European People’s Party Group.
EU: Sources within the European Parliament have told TobaccoIntelligence that no member of the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has shown any interest in objecting to the Commission Delegated Directive setting out a flavour ban on heated tobacco products, so it will not be discussed. The act will therefore be published automatically in the Official Journal once the scrutiny period ends on 29th October – though as that is a Saturday, publication will probably be on Monday 31st October.
Americas: The Pan American Health Organization, the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), has published a paper on “Taxation of novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products (HTPs, ENDS, and ENNDS) globally and in Latin America”, analysing “the evolution and market structure” of heated tobacco and e-cigarettes, with and without nicotine, and proposes “possible elements of a good tax policy approach for countries to consider”. The paper makes extensive use of TobaccoIntelligence data.
Czech Republic: National anti-drug coordinator Jindřich Vobořil will present a new action plan on addiction to government officials and interested members of parliament and senators today, media reports. According to Vobořil, priorities include the regulated cannabis and tobacco markets. ECigIntelligence understands the plan is based on the principle of harm reduction, as previously mentioned by officials. This could lead to the promotion of vaping products and alternative tobacco products to current smokers. Voboři believes the proposal will pass and could apply as early as mid-2023.
Georgia: The transition to standardised packaging for tobacco products, due to come into force on 31st December, may be postponed, media reports. It is now proposed to delay the change by two years as more than 80% of tobacco products intended for Georgia were produced in Ukraine, and the war there means importers now have to find other producers.
UK: The long-awaited tobacco control plan may not be published after all, press reports. After its publication was delayed under the previous Conservative cabinet, there are now fears that new health secretary Thérèse Coffey will give up on it altogether. This follows an interview in which Coffey said she doesn’t have a personal view on smokefree policies.
Iceland: The Ministry of Health has told TobaccoIntelligence that, for the time being, it does not plan to issue a regulation restricting the marketing of flavoured nicotine pouches. Plans for a flavour ban were quashed when the Parliamentary Welfare Committee deleted the provision on flavours, proposed by the Ministry of Health in the first draft of a recently-enacted bill amending Act 87/2018 on E-cigarettes, Refills and Nicotine Products.
Belgium: The government was today presenting its 2023 Budget, which was expected to include further increases in excise duty on tobacco products over the next two years and a vapour products tax to start in 2024, media reports.
Italy: The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has updated the retail prices and excise duties for heated tobacco consumables.
US - general: A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, “US adults’ public opinion toward R-rating labels for movies with cigarette smoking”, has concluded that 47% of US adults support a policy that would designate R-ratings for movies depicting smoking, while just 20.3% were opposed and 30.3% neutral on the issue.
Portugal: The government has presented its Budget for 2023, which includes a proposal to increase the specific heated tobacco tax from €0.0845 to €0.0896 per g. It also stipulates that the total tax on heated tobacco cannot amount to less than €0.193 per g. The Budget is yet to be discussed in parliament, with a final vote scheduled for 25th November.
Colombia: President Gustavo Petro has decided not to increase the tax on tobacco products, press reports. Medical societies had been urging the government to raise the tax on heated tobacco and some members of the Chamber of Representatives have already criticised the decision not to do so as part of Petro’s overall tax reforms.
Ukraine: The health ministry’s Public Health Centre has set up an online platform for anyone who encounters a violation of anti-tobacco legislation to report it, either through the website or via an app. Complaints about violations of public place usage restrictions, illegal trade, advertising, or lack of warning information will automatically be sent to the relevant department.
Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Shura Council has amended the Anti-Smoking Law, raising the purchasing and distribution age for all tobacco products from 18 to 21, press reports. The amendments also stipulate that designated areas for tobacco use and vaping will also be reserved to those aged 21 and above.
Lithuania: A bill to strengthen the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department (NTAKD)’s power to shut down illegal advertising and internet sales of tobacco and tobacco-related products has been introduced in parliament. If it is passed, the NTAKD will have the power to order internet and network service providers to remove the illegal content.
Italy: The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has updated the excise duties and prices of six flavours of heated tobacco consumables.
EU: Reuters reports that “internal sources” say the EU antitrust enforcer does not see any competition issues arising from Philip Morris International (PMI)’s bid to buy Swedish Match, but that “a final decision has not been made”. It is also reported that PMI “expects EU antitrust approval” and that the process with the European Commission will be completed towards the end of this month.
Malaysia: A parliamentary special select committee (PSSC) tabled a statement in parliament today on the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022, agreeing that the proposed Generational Endgame ban on the sale of tobacco products is constitutional, and that a separate regulation for non-combustible alternatives is not required. Among proposed amendments, the PSSC has agreed to drop the provision banning the possession of vaping products. The likelihood of the bill passing remains unclear, due to reported speculation that Parliament will be dissolved soon to make way for general elections.
EU: The EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council confirmed today that it will not object to the Commission Delegated Directive setting out a flavour ban on heated tobacco products, sources within the Council of the European Union told TobaccoIntelligence. If the European Parliament raises no objection, the directive will be published in the Official Journal on 30th October.
US - general: A federal appeals court was not receptive yesterday to arguments put forward by Philip Morris International (PMI), accusing the US International Trade Commission (ITC) of failing to consult the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before imposing an import ban on the company’s FDA-approved Iqos heated tobacco products, Reuters reports. Attorney Gregory Garre, for PMI, claimed the ITC’s public request for comment did not amount to “consulting” with the FDA, as required by federal law. However, judge Kara Stoll said the ITC had considered 32 documents from the FDA in making its decision.
EU: TobaccoIntelligence has today launched its third Survey on New Nicotine Products in the EU. We are asking Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) about their views on e-cigarettes, heated tobacco and nicotine pouches and their regulation. Consolidated results will be published, comparing the results with similar surveys carried out in the past two years. This year’s survey is especially relevant given the current policy debates on the topic. In both previous surveys, there was a clear correlation between higher levels of knowledge about novel nicotine products and lower perceived risk. Though the exact degrees of correlation varied by product category, the overall picture was consistent: those who were aware of and had some knowledge of a given category considered it less risky, compared to smoking combustibles, than those unfamiliar with it.