Latvia: A bill to ban flavours in heated tobacco products and nicotine pouches, and prohibit their sale to under-20s, has been approved at its second reading by the Social Affairs Committee. It has now to be approved at two more readings by the Saeima (parliament). Proposed amendments may be submitted until 2nd May before the bill’s next Saeima reading.
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Lithuania: The Supreme Administrative Court yesterday upheld a lower court’s decision to approve a fine imposed by the Department of Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control on Philip Morris Baltic for hidden advertising of Iqos, media reports. The court said the company had secretly distributed information on tobacco products in order to promote sales of its heated tobacco system, misleading consumers by giving the impression that a non-tobacco product was being advertised.
Russia: From today, 1st March, the tax on heated tobacco consumables will rise to RUB8,669 (€108) per kg. The rate will rise next year to RUB9,016 (€112) per kg, and in 2025 to RUB9,377 (€117) per kg.
Iceland: Most of the labelling requirements laid down in Regulation 991/2022 on the packaging of nicotine products, e-cigarettes and refills containing nicotine apply from today to nicotine pouches, under an amendment issued in November 2022. New restrictions include a requirement for tobacco-free pouches to carry a health warning, a list of ingredients in descending order by weight, and an information booklet containing certain warnings, contraindications and usage and storage instructions.
Bulgaria: From tomorrow, 1st March, the tax on heated tobacco will rise to BGN282 (€144.50) per kg. The rate is due to go up again to BGN331 (€169.60) per kg in 2024, BGN380 (€194.70) in 2025 and BGN400 (€205) in 2026.
Norway: A spokesperson on health policy for the coalition Centre Party has told media the government is considering the introduction of more smoke-free places, a ban on flavoured snus – and banning tobacco entirely for future generations. A public health report by the Ministry of Health is expected to be published next month.
France: From tomorrow, 1st March, heated tobacco sticks will be taxed at €19.30 per 1,000 plus an ad valorem rate of 51.4%. Other forms of heated tobacco products will be taxed at €72.20 per kg plus 51.4% ad valorem.
UK: According to figures published by the government today, provisional 2022 tax revenue from a range of tobacco products including heated tobacco is estimated at £136m.
US - Minnesota: A US appeals court has upheld a ban on flavoured tobacco products imposed by the city of Edina. The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled against the challenge filed by RJ Reynolds to an earlier ruling by a Minnesota district court that the local flavour ban did constitute a product standard but was not preempted due to the “saving clause” of the federal Tobacco Control Act (TCA). The court of appeal ruled that the TCA does not expressly or implicitly preempt a city’s prohibition on selling flavoured tobacco.
US - California: The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a petition from RJ Reynolds Vapor and two other companies seeking to overturn Los Angeles County’s ban on flavoured tobacco products. Reynolds sued over the ban shortly after it took effect in 2020, arguing that only the federal government has the legal authority to regulate tobacco products.
South Korea: The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDC) last week published a report on the use of flavoured e-cigarettes, in which it called for tighter regulation of flavoured tobacco products.
Croatia: The Croatian Institute of Public Health organised a roundtable to mark national non-smoking day, at which health experts discussed the harms of tobacco. While it was concluded that smoking cessation is the best option for the prevention of serious illness, harm reduction was not discussed.
South Africa: The National Treasury, in its 2023 Budget Review, proposed a 4.9% increase in excise duty on heated tobacco sticks from ZAR14.87 ($0.81) to ZAR15.60 ($0.85) per pack of 20. The treasury said a tobacco review paper would be published later this year, following consultations on excise policies.
Taiwan: Customs officers at Taipei airport seized 1,138 packs of heated tobacco consumables on Sunday from passengers flying in to Taiwan, media reports. Heated tobacco, while recently regulated, is not allowed to be imported or sold without pre-market approval.
US - Hawaii: The Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection has recommended that Senate Bill 1447 be passed with amendments. The bill would leave counties the right to regulate the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products, as long as ordinances are not in direct conflict with state law or less stringent.
Vietnam: The Ministry of Finance is proposing an amendment to the Law on Special Consumption Tax to tax e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. It notes in its draft explanatory note that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends applying the same tax policy as for regular cigarettes, which are taxed in Vietnam at 75%. The draft is open for consultation and no deadline has been set. Heated tobacco is banned in Vietnam, while e-cigarettes are currently unregulated.
Philippines: The Department of Health and Industry announced today that it was stepping up enforcement of regulations governing vaping, heated tobacco and other novel tobacco products. The department has issued violation notices to establishments selling non-compliant products with illegal markings or characters such as cartoons and youth influencers, and names suggesting flavours. Press reports that the agency confiscated over PHP860,000 ($15,600) worth of e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products.
India: Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said yesterday that the central government is working on amending several laws regulating tobacco, namely the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, the Food Safety and Standards Act, and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, to cover new products, press reports.
Malaysia: Answering a parliamentary question, the health minister Zaliha Mustafa said yesterday that she intends soon to reintroduce the 2022 Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, which would ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 1st January 2007, “so enforcement can begin in 2024”.
Kazakhstan: The Ministry of Health has drawn up a proposed decree on graphic warnings about the dangers of using heat-not-burn (HnB) and other tobacco and nicotine products. The draft is open to public consultation until 3rd March.
EU: A public consultation on the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and Tobacco Advertising Directive (TAD) opened today and will run until 16th May. The second of three consultation stages, it comes after the call for evidence and will be followed by a targeted stakeholder consultation. Once the full consultation process is complete, the European Commission will produce its draft proposal for revision of the two directives.
Italy: The Customs and Monopolies Agency (ADM) has updated the list of retail prices and excise duties for heated tobacco consumables – two new flavours of which have been notified.
EU: In answer to a parliamentary question on whether the European Commission considers the different regulations on nicotine pouches put forward by member states to be a problem for the European single market, health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said pouches “may be subject to national measures, provided that those measures comply with EU law, including the Treaty provisions on the free movement of goods”. She added that nicotine pouches “will be further assessed in the ongoing evaluation of the EU legislative framework for tobacco control”. Potential clashes between EU law and any national ban on nicotine pouches are examined in a special TobaccoIntelligence regulatory report.
US - Texas: Senate Bill 920 has been introduced, which would ban the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products with any flavour other than that of tobacco.
EU: The European Commission today answered a parliamentary question submitted by Swedish MEP Sara Skyttedal on the inclusion of new nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, in the revision of the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED). Economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the revision of the TED was “currently being finalised”, and that “it aims to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, by adapting the rules to new developments and market trends while closing possible loopholes in the EU excise system”.
EU: The European Commission today answered a parliamentary question submitted by Swedish MEP Johan Nissinen on the promotion of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches to curb smoking. Health and food safety commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the Commission was currently evaluating the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and that “any scientific, technical and market developments concerning novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products will be carefully considered, including experience from other jurisdictions”. She added: “The risk assessment of emerging products will be extensively deliberated throughout the process by considering, among others, gateway effects, safety aspects, as well as addiction and attractiveness properties.”
India: The national Ministry of Health has written to all state health ministries asking them to ensure compliance with the statutory ban on heated tobacco products, press reports. The letter expresses concern over the availability of heat-not-burn (HnB) products, e-cigarettes and e-hookahs online and in convenience stores near schools, giving young people easy access to prohibited devices.
Egypt: House of Representatives member Safaa Gaber Eada of the Homeland Defenders Party has written to the prime minister and the president of the Supreme Media Council, calling for a ban on TV dramas and movies showing the use of tobacco, press reports.
Russia: The Ministry of Agriculture has drafted a bill, with the backing of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to block websites selling tobacco and nicotine products. Online sales of e-cigarettes are prohibited by federal law. The ministry told media the bill would amend Federal Law 149-FZ on information technology.
North Macedonia: The government yesterday adopted a system for the monitoring and control of tobacco products from production, through distribution to the retail outlet.
Germany: The federal government has approved a draft third amendment to the Tobacco Products Act, which will transpose into national law the flavour ban for heated tobacco products imposed by EU Directive 2022/2100. The draft will now be submitted to the Bundestag. Kristine Lütke of the government-coalition Free Democratic Party told reporters the amended law should also cover nicotine pouches. “A high level of consumer protection can be guaranteed with a differentiated regulation of the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco-free nicotine pouches,” she said.
Czech Republic: The Senate yesterday approved an amendment to the Law on the protection of health from the harmful effects of addictive substances, bringing nicotine pouches under the same restrictions on sales and public usage as tobacco and e-cigarettes, media reports. It means pouches can no longer be sold to under-18s, once the amendment has been signed by the president.
Slovenia: The Ministry of Finance has told TobaccoIntelligence that approximately €11.36m was raised in tax revenue on heated tobacco in 2022, up from around €6.28m in 2021 and €4.38m in 2020. The ministry also said it had no current plan to introduce a tax on nicotine pouches.
EU: Answering a parliamentary question about the track and trace system under the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), the European Commission said today that in 2021, products other than cigarettes represented 58% of the total quantity of tobacco seized in the Customs Union.
EU: French MEP Anne-Sophie Pelletier last week submitted a parliamentary question asking the European Commission whether it plans to put forward the revision of the Tobacco Excise Directive (TED) before the end of its current term on 31st October 2024, saying: “There are fears that these successive postponements are due to interference by the tobacco industry.”