Slovenia: The government has announced that the Health Inspectorate is planning to step up action against the use of tobacco products in public places. Since the Covid pandemic, the inspectorate has found that people were under a wrong impression that the public smoking ban did not apply to novel products. Tobacco use of all kinds in enclosed public spaces is punishable by a fine ranging from €4,000 to €33,000 for a business and €125 for an individual.
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Egypt: Ayman Abo El-Ela, chair of the parliamentary health committee, ran a seminar today titled “Reducing risks and ways to quit” to raise awareness about the risks of smoking and the dangers of using heated tobacco as an alternative, press reports. He noted that Egypt ranks tenth in the world for smoking rates and called for stricter regulations against tobacco as it contains “4,000 substances that cause death”.
Egypt: The Ministry of Local Development has announced that Law No. 154/2019 on Licensing Stores and Premises will come into force on Sunday, 11th December. The law stipulates that tobacco products cannot be sold or served in places that sell or serve food or drink without a licence from the government. Failure to comply with the law will result in a fine of between EGP20,000 ($812) and EGP50,000 ($2,029).
Ireland: The newly published Healthy Ireland survey 2022 shows 18% of the population are current smokers, 14% smoking daily and 4% occasionally; those in the 25-34 age group are the most likely to smoke.
Vietnam: According to Ngo Khai Hoan, deputy director of the Department of Industry and Trade, leaders of the industry and health ministries are working on an amendment to Decree 67/2013 on tobacco trading to include new generation tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, press reports. Once finalised, the draft will be submitted to the prime minister.
New Zealand: The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill, which would set a limit on vaping retailers and ban the sale of smokable tobacco products to anyone born after 1st January 2009, was approved by Parliament at its second reading. Additional changes will now be considered by MPs before the bill’s third and final reading.
US - New York: Westchester County legislators have voted to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products, including menthol-flavoured products. The county-wide ban will come into effect in six months. Local media reports differing opinions in the community. Supporters said the ban would be a victory for “young people and the Black community”, citing data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On the other hand, critics said the ban could lead to a black market in flavoured products, especially menthol cigarettes. Others said it may harm local businesses, especially those near the border with another area where there is no such ban. Westchester County, north of New York City, has a population of almost 1m.
EU: The period to submit comments on the European Commission Draft Implementing Regulation amending Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/574 on technical standards for a traceability system for tobacco products ends today, 1st December. The amendments seek to update the traceability system by addressing a number of exceptions and special cases that have arisen since its launch, facilitating reporting by anyone involved in the tobacco products trade, and reinforcing good practices on data management and analysis. The traceability system will apply to heated tobacco products from 20th May 2024.
Italy: The Chamber of Deputies Budget Committee begins discussions today on the 2023 Budget Bill, which would slightly amend the planned increase in heated tobacco excise duty for 2023 and the following years. Heated tobacco products would be taxed at 36.5% of the duty on the equivalent quantity of cigarettes in 2023, 38% in 2024, 39.5% in 2025 and 41% in 2026. The bill has not yet been introduced in Parliament.
Netherlands: Four organisations have launched a citizens’ initiative to achieve a nicotine-free generation. They want the age limit for the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products to be raised by a year annually from 2030. The initiative needs to collect 40,000 signatures to be discussed in the House of Representatives.
EU: In a move that may affect the packaging of novel tobacco products, the European Commission yesterday issued a proposal to revise the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. It aims to prevent the generation of packaging waste, reduce it in quantity, and ensure that all packaging is recyclable as well as to increase the use of recycled plastics in packaging. The proposal will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council, following the normal EU legislative procedure.
US - California: RJ Reynolds and other tobacco companies have filed a motion in the US Supreme Court asking for an emergency order to prevent California from enforcing the flavour ban approved in the November ballot, press reports.
Slovenia: A regulation setting out new excise duties for heated tobacco was published today for consideration by ministers. It would increase the applicable rate to €110 per kg on 1st January, then to €116 from 1st May, and €122 from 1st November 2023.
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.
Georgia: The requirement for standardised plain packaging on tobacco products, which should have come into force on 31st December 2022 under the current legislation, is postponed to 31st July 2024 after Parliament approved proposed changes to the Law on Tobacco Control at their first reading.
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 other oral tobacco products but made a permanent exception for Sweden when the country joined the EU in 1995.
US - Oregon: The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners hosted a public hearing yesterday on proposed rules which would ban the sale of flavoured tobacco and nicotine products in the county. The board is scheduled to hear a first reading of this ordinance on Thursday, with a possible second reading on 15th December. Part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area, Multnomah County has a population of just over 800,000 and includes Portland, the largest city in Oregon.
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.
Vietnam: Tran Thi Trang, deputy director of the Ministry of Health legal department, today told a seminar organised by the Ministry of Information and Communications that the health ministry was opposed to any pilot programs for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, press reports. Instead, she proposed a ban on all such products on the grounds that they are harmful to health and attractive to children and adolescents.
Tajikistan: Deputy health minister Abdukholik Amirzoda told a parliamentary working group on the Law on Restricting the Use of Tobacco Products that a decree was issued in October banning the import, production and sale of smokeless tobacco and non-tobacco products (pouches), with the exception of nasvay, press reports. Nasvay is a moist, powdered tobacco dip produced and used mostly in central Asia. During the meeting a draft amendment to the tobacco law was reportedly presented, aiming to ban snus and nicotine pouches, and introduce a minimum retail price for tobacco products.
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.