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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.
Philippines: The Bureau of Internal Revenue has updated price controls on heated tobacco products. A pack of 20 sticks now has a floor price of PHP120.40 ($2.16), taking into account excise duty, VAT and reasonable production costs.
Egypt: The president’s health adviser, Mohamed Tag-Eldin, has told TV viewers that heated tobacco is no safer than combustible cigarettes and can have serious side effects such as poisoning, lung damage and nerve inflammation.
Latvia: A bill to ban heated tobacco flavours, implementing an EU delegated directive, will be debated by the Saeima (parliament) on 11th May. It is expected to be passed before the European Commission’s 23rd July deadline.
UK: In answer to a written parliamentary question, junior health minister Neil O’Brien said there were no current plans to increase the purchasing age for tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21. “Our assessment is that an increase in the age of sale would be a major departure from the policy pursued over recent decades, which has emphasised personal responsibility and help for people to quit,” he said.
Kazakhstan: The Ministry of Finance is aiming to increase the minimum retail prices for heated tobacco products, media reports. If the draft amendment is adopted, after a public consultation due to end on 19th May, the minimum price for a pack of 20 consumables will rise to KZT710 ($1.60) on 1st July, then again to KZT770 ($1.73) on 1st January 2024.
Saudi Arabia: The Ministry of Rural Affairs and Housing has introduced an initial draft through the public consultation platform on the requirements for offering tobacco and e-cigarettes on hospitality premises. The proposal prohibits signs advertising the use of tobacco and requires any premises selling tobacco to post a price list. It also requires health warning signs and a warning against providing tobacco to minors. The proposal will be under consideration until 10th May.
Iraq: The Erbil Governorate in Kurdistan yesterday issued a notice prohibiting the marketing and advertising of all tobacco products through the media, either written, visual, audio or social, press reports. Iraq’s anti-smoking law bans the advertising of tobacco, but does not directly mention the advertising of novel nicotine products.
US - general: Senator Dick Durbin and 20 of his colleagues have written to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Robert Califf, urging the agency to promptly finalise its proposed rule to end the sale of menthol cigarettes, announced in April 2022. “We urge the FDA to act with urgency to solidify and enforce the ban on these harmful products,” reads the letter, in which the senators also request responses on the FDA’s timeline for finalising and enforcing the regulation.
Slovenia: Excise duty on heated tobacco products rose yesterday to from €110 to €116 per kg of tobacco. That rate will apply until 1st November, when it will rise again to €122 per kg.
Russia: President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill tightening regulation of heated tobacco products. The new law restricts retail sale of devices in line with the rules that already apply to consumables; prohibits discounts on devices and bans their display in stores. From 1st September heat-not-burn (HnB) consumables will be subject to a minimum price, to be determined by the government.
Dominican Republic: Members of the centre-left Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), the ruling party, have reaffirmed support for a bill to regulate e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices, including banning their sale to under-18s, press reports. The bill also has the backing of the opposition Fuerza del Pueblo (People’s Force) party.
Denmark: The Ministry of Health has submitted to Parliament a bill to adopt the EU definition of heated tobacco and ban heated tobacco flavours. If adopted, the bill will come into force on 23rd October.
Belgium: The government has notified on the EU TRIS database a bill to transpose Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100 on the withdrawal of certain exemptions for heated tobacco products. The bill would bring the EU flavour ban into national law, define heat-not-burn (HnB) as novel tobacco products for smoking and apply health warnings as for smokable tobacco products. It would extend the current framework for smokable herbal products to heated herbal products and bring heated tobacco and heated herbal devices within the tobacco framework, introducing notification, packaging and labelling requirements. It would also bring in a long-distance sales ban on all products and devices and update notification fees. The standstill period for comments ends on 26th July.
Serbia: Deputy health minister Jelena Janković has told media the ministry is hoping the smoking ban in cafes and restaurants will be adopted before the end of the year. Previous reports suggested the ban would also extend to vaping and heated tobacco, however as the official proposal has not been made public, it is unclear if the bill might make an exception for tobacco alternatives.
India: The Supreme Court has stayed an order by the Madras High Court that quashed the Tamil Nadu food safety commissioner’s decision to ban the manufacture, storage, transport, distribution and sale of gutkha, pan masala and other chewable products containing tobacco or nicotine, press reports. It means the sale of such products remains banned in Tamil Nadu, a southern state with a population of 76m.
Slovakia: A proposal has been submitted to the National Council (parliament) to amend Act 89/2016 on the production, labelling and sale of tobacco and related products, implementing Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100. It would introduce a definition of heated tobacco products, ban flavours for heated tobacco, and subject it to the same packaging rules as tobacco for smoking. If adopted, the amendment will come into force on 23rd October.
Belgium: The Superior Health Council has issued a report on the impact of cigarette filters on public health and the environment, calling for them to be banned nationally and at EU level. It says analysis shows that filters do not reduce the harmful effects of tobacco on health and have a clear negative impact on the environment as they are very slow to decompose. Though the report does not mention heated tobacco products or other alternative nicotine products, the council recommendations might have an impact on those products too.
Germany: Federal drug commissioner Burkhard Blienert has called for stricter rules on tobacco advertising, after a survey of 1,383 people conducted by the Federal Drug Commission found that three-quarters supported a complete ban. “The overpresence of large-scale advertising for alcohol, for tobacco and e-cigarettes at kiosks and petrol stations, and for gambling on television, is a major problem for Germany’s consumer protection, youth and health policies,” Blienert said. “Politicians can’t ignore that any longer.”