US - Ohio: Columbus City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance banning the sale of flavoured tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and menthol tobacco. The ban will come into effect on 1st January 2024, allowing businesses a year to clear existing stock. The ordinance does not apply to the sale of flavoured shisha. Columbus is the Ohio state capital, with a population of over 900,000.
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New Zealand: Most provisions of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill, which will ban the sale of smokable tobacco products to anyone born after 1st January 2009, will come into force on 1st January, having received final royal assent.
South Africa: The government has tabled the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery System Control Bill in Parliament. The latest version of the bill proposes a total ban on the use of heated tobacco in indoor public places and certain outdoor areas, and strengthens the rules on packaging and health warnings.
Georgia: Amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control came into effect yesterday, postponing the requirement for standardised plain packaging of tobacco products to 31st July 2024. The regulation was reportedly originally supposed to come into force in 2018, but was then put back until 31st December 2022.
Slovakia: The government has approved the National Action Plan for the control of tobacco and related products, seeking to improve smoking prevention among young people compliance with the law on the protection of non-smokers. The Slovak Pneumology Society has praised the plan for advocating a harm reduction approach, media reports.
Belarus: Temporary licensing of imports of heated tobacco consumables has been introduced by Resolution of the Council of Ministers, media reports. Tobacco sticks may be imported from other members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia – and from other states only under licences issued by the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade. The resolution came into force on 11th December and is valid for six months.
US - California: A motion filed by RJ Reynolds and other tobacco companies, seeking an emergency order to stop California from enforcing the flavour ban approved in the November ballot, has been denied by the US Supreme Court. The ban will come into effect next week.
New Zealand: The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill, which will set a limit on the number of e-cigarette retailers and ban the sale of smokable tobacco products to anyone born after 1st January 2009, was approved by Parliament at its third and final reading. The bill will now be signed by the governor-general before becoming law.
Malaysia: New health minister Zaliha Mustafa has said she plans to reintroduce the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill 2022 in the first sitting of Parliament next year, press reports. The bill proposes a ban on the sale and use of tobacco products to those born on or after 1st January 2007. Mustafa has also said she needs to review certain aspects of the bill, such as its implementation and timeline.
Hungary: Parliament last week adopted a law closing a legal loophole that allowed nicotine-free herbal sticks compatible with heating devices to be sold in places other than national tobacco shops, press reports. From February 2023, these sticks will also be subject to excise duty.
Slovenia: A regulation setting new excise duties on heated tobacco products has been published in the Official Gazette. The tax will be set at €110 per kg of tobacco from 1st January, €116 per kg from 1st May, and rise again to €122 per kg on 1st November 2023.
EU: Swedish MEP Johan Nissinen, of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, has submitted a parliamentary question, asking whether the European Commission has any plans to promote alternatives to cigarettes, such as nicotine pouches, with a view to curbing tobacco use in Europe, and whether it has considered the risk of the number of smokers in Europe increasing if the tax on pouches is increased. Nissinen also asked whether the Commission had studied developments in Sweden, where “nicotine pouches are popular, and, together with snus, they have led to a marked reduction in the number of smokers”.
Iceland: A bill to amend the Tobacco Control Act No. 6/2022 by transposing the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) into the Icelandic legal framework has been submitted to the Althingi (parliament) by the Ministry of Health. It would place heated tobacco products under new restrictions, including product restrictions and the common notification system currently in place across the EU.
Iceland: An amendment to Regulation 991/2022 on the packaging of nicotine products has been published in the Official Gazette, deferring the entry into force of certain labelling requirements for nicotine pouches to 1st March 2023. At the same time, an amendment to Regulation 992/2022 on marketing notifications, licensing, and ingredients of nicotine products has also been published, lowering the fee for licence applications to sell nicotine pouches from ISK72,864 (€482) to ISK27,224 (€180).
Belarus: Finance minister Yury Seliverstov has announced planned increases in 2023 in excise duties on tobacco products, bringing them level with Russian rates, media reports. It is also planned to introduce a tax on heated tobacco devices at the same rate as in Russia.
Russia: The Ministry of Finance is proposing to gradually bring excise rates on nicotine-containing e-liquids and heated tobacco consumables to the same level as those on cigarettes, media reports. This was stated by deputy finance minister Alexei Sazanov, who said that this proposal is currently being discussed by the government.
US - Maine: South Portland City Council is considering a ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Councillors voted 5-2 yesterday in favour of the ban, which will include menthol products, press reports. South Portland, which has a population of 27,000, could become the fourth Maine community to ban flavoured tobacco, a previous attempt having failed in 2019.
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.
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.