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EU: Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal has submitted a question to the European Commission asking whether it sees any conflict of interest in the awarding of the Single Framework Contract for Support Actions in the Field of Tobacco Control to the European Network for Smoking Prevention (ENSP). According to Skyttedal, “the ENSP lobbies the Commission on tobacco policy and advocates for a total ban on safer nicotine products”. She also asked how the Commission will ensure that a broad range of views is taken into account in its tobacco policy.
India: A former Parliament member has published an academic paper concluding that the national ban on heat-not-burn (HnB) products ordered by the government in 2019 has been unsuccessful. Rajeev Gowda said the country should lift the ban and instead regulate heated tobacco through the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). Gowda also suggested commissioning studies on how HnB products can be used as a harm-reduction tool and smoking-cessation aid.
Vietnam: Ngo Khai Hoan, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said during a seminar on the regulation of new generation tobacco products that a draft amendment to Decree 67/2013, regulating heated tobacco and e-cigarettes, is expected to be submitted to the government in the second quarter of 2023.
EU: The independent European Ombudsman has found a lack of transparency in meetings between the European Commission and tobacco lobbyists, suggesting that it amounts to maladministration. The ombudsman was concerned about a failure to publish details of the Commission’s meetings with lobbyists, and a failure to keep minutes of all meetings that took place in 2020 and 2021. The Commission has been asked to respond to the preliminary findings by mid-July.
Italy: The Market and Competition Authority (AGCM) has launched an investigation into British American Tobacco (BAT) and Amazon over alleged misleading advertising of the Glo Hyper X2 heated tobacco device. According to the AGCM, promotion for the device omitted information or provided misleading information about the health risks of using it.
Morocco: The Ministry of Economy and Finance issued Decision No. 890.23/2023, approving the sales prices of heated tobacco products. The ministry approved a price of MAD35 ($3.50) per unit each for Farstar Regular, Amber, Menthol, Lemon, and Blueberry products.
Algeria: During an oral question session in the parliament, member of parliament (MP) Abdelkader Qouri asked the minister of industry and pharmaceutical production, Ali Aoun, about the strategies the ministry would adopt to combat illicit products on the market, and called for an amendment to the current tobacco regime to facilitate the manufacture and import processes of tobacco products. Aoun emphasised the need to combat tobacco use and said there are no plans to change the current regime.
US - Texas: House Bill 4481 is scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, 17th April. The bill would establish a directory of e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine products sold in Texas, and require manufacturers of all such products to certify annually that they agree to comply with the bill’s provisions.
Australia: The South Australia state government has proposed extending the existing restrictions on smoking in outdoor public places, press reports. The use of heated tobacco would be banned, along with smoking, on beaches, at public swimming pools, and within 10 m of schools and 5 m of shopping centres.
Lithuania: The government yesterday approved a bill proposed by the Ministry of Health seeking to ban flavours in heated tobacco sticks and require health warnings on their packaging, media reports. If adopted by the Seimas (parliament), the bill will come into force on 23rd October, implementing the European Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100.
Russia: Bill 310882-8 on the state regulation of production and circulation of tobacco and nicotine-containing products has passed its first reading in the State Duma. The bill would introduce state licensing of production, storage, import and export of tobacco and nicotine-containing products, including raw materials. It would establish mandatory state registration of technological equipment used in the production of those products. And it is expected that the Federal Service for Regulation of the Alcohol Market (Rosalkogolregulirovanie) would be given authority over tobacco and nicotine-containing products. Amendments to the bill may be submitted by 11th May before the second reading.
Denmark: Health minister Sophie Løhde is planning to increase the tax on nicotine products, press reports. This comes after a study by the National Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark, which showed an increase in the use of nicotine and tobacco products among children and young people. According to the survey, 12.9% of children and adolescents in Denmark use smokeless nicotine products daily or occasionally. Løhde did not specify which products would be affected.
Russia: State Duma member Sultan Khamzaev, head of the Sober Russia project, has reportedly suggested to health minister Mikhail Murashko that purchases of tobacco and nicotine-containing products should be restricted to card payments only. He also suggested that banks and large retail chains should introduce an automatic block on bank cards issued to minors being used to buy such products.
Russia: Bill 332229-8, setting a minimum price for nicotine-containing products, including heated tobacco consumables, has passed its first reading in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Parliament. The bill would also ban additives that increase addiction, a list of which will be determined by executive regulation. The bill is highly likely to succeed, but before it goes to president Vladimir Putin to be signed, it must pass a second and third reading and be approved by the upper chamber, the Federal Council.
Spain: The Ministry of Health has launched a public consultation on an amendment to Decree 579/2017, which regulates tobacco products. It aims to address various aspects, including packaging and exposure to novel products, and to regulate herbal smoking products. Though nicotine pouches are not mentioned in the note issued by the ministry, it is likely that they will be included in the amendment. Ideas and proposals can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org until 24th April.
Greece: Parliament last week approved a bill implementing the EU-wide heated tobacco flavour ban set out in Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100. The ban will come into force on 23rd October, as required by the directive. The bill also classifies heated tobacco products as smoking products, making them subject to the health warning requirements set out in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
Finland: The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) has reassessed nicotine pouches and decided they can no longer be classified as medicines unless they are explicitly marketed for medicinal use or are typically used as medicine. Instead, they are now subject to the Tobacco Act as a tobacco substitute. However, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has begun drafting an amendment to the Tobacco Act, following a proposal by the Tobacco and Nicotine Policy Development Working Group that pouches should be regulated as snus, which would mean import restrictions and a ban on sales.
Ukraine: The Ministry of Finance has announced the government’s approval of changes to the regulation on excise tax stamps, increasing the stamp fees. The new fee for heated tobacco is set at a rate of “about UAH0.16” (€0.004) per stamp, almost doubling the current fee of UAH0.091 (€0.0023). It is not yet clear when the new fees will take effect.
Czech Republic: The Chamber of Deputies (the lower chamber of Parliament) has approved at third reading a bill to transpose the EU flavour ban on flavoured heated tobacco products imposed by Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100. Assuming the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the president, it will come into effect on 23rd October.
US - Maine: Bill LD 1558 has been introduced in the state Legislature, aiming to ban the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and stores containing pharmacies. The definition of “tobacco products” in the section that would be amended by this bill includes e-cigarettes.
Vietnam: The Ministry of Health has proposed a ban on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products over health concerns. According to the ministry, tobacco regulations and standards have not yet been adapted to these products. The Ministry of Trade and Industry was coordinating efforts in December to amend Decree 67/2013 on tobacco trading to regulate heated tobacco and e-cigarettes.
India: The Delhi High Court has upheld a ban imposed by the city’s Food Safety Commissioner on the manufacture, storage and sale of gutka, pan masala, flavoured smokeless tobacco, and similar products in the city, press reports. The ban was quashed by the same court last September, but a new bench has now set that decision aside. The court noted that the ban does not prohibit tobacco itself, but the addition of tobacco to “food products”, defined as including the named oral products.
Argentina: Following the recently-issued Decree 565/2023 prohibiting the importation, distribution, sale and any form of promotion and sponsorship of heated tobacco products, two Congress members from the ruling coalition presented a bill last week seeking to overrule the ban and regulate heated tobacco products by including them in the tobacco law.
US – Arkansas: House Bill 1725 has passed the House and been sent to the Senate. Among its provisions, it would establish safety inspections for child-resistant packaging of tobacco, vapour and alternative nicotine products, and e-liquids; ban advertising of vaping and alternative nicotine products; and establish a manufacturers directory.
US – federal: The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability has announced that it is investigating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). Republican committee chairman James Comer has written to FDA commissioner Robert Califf, accusing the CTP of failing to effectively define and administer its tobacco and nicotine regulatory programmes, “[fostering] uncertainty in the marketplace and [allowing] unsafe and unregulated products to proliferate”. “A recent evaluation of CTP by the Reagan-Udall Foundation (RUF) found that CTP has not clearly set out the most basic elements of its tobacco and nicotine regulatory programs,” Comer said. He is requesting documents, communications, and a staff-level briefing related to the CTP’s activities.
Slovenia: A 30-day public consultation ends today on a Ministry of Health bill to bring nicotine pouches under the Tobacco Law, making them subject to age, sales and advertising restrictions and notification requirements. The bill would also classify heated tobacco products as smoking products, making them subject to the health warning requirements set out in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and transpose Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2022/2100, bringing the EU-wide heated tobacco flavour ban into national law.
Belgium: Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has banned the sale of nicotine pouches, and cannabinoid-containing pouches, through a royal decree which will come into force on 1st July (or 1st October for retailers). Vandenbroucke announced in January his intention to ban the pouches after the Belgian government notified a proposal to that effect to the TRIS database in June 2022. That proposal received negative opinions from Croatia, Hungary and Sweden, while the European Commission made no comment.
Argentina: A Health Ministry decree came into force yesterday, banning the importation, distribution, sale and advertising of heated tobacco devices and consumables. An official ministry statement said that although heated tobacco products were promoted as low-risk products, “so far no independent study has shown that they are harmless to health. On the contrary, some investigations have verified that they contain many of the toxic substances that common cigarettes have, in some cases in a higher degree of concentration.”