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.
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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.”
Czech Republic: The Ministry of Finance has told TobaccoIntelligence that tax revenues from heated tobacco products were CZK1.2bn (€50.64m) in 2020, CZK1.4bn (€59.1m) in 2021 and CZK2.4bn (€101.3m) in 2022. The ministry said the government was planning to adjust its national policy with the forthcoming revision of the EU Tobacco Excise Directive, which it expects to be presented in the first half of this year.
US - Vermont: A hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare has been scheduled for 22nd February on Senate Bill 18, which would ban flavoured tobacco products.
Russia: The lower chamber of the parliament, the State Duma, is discussing possible measures to regulate the sale of tobacco products, including the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes, press reports. Deputy Biysultan Khamzayev of the governing United Russia party said packets of all brands would have to be in plain green, with the brand name only “in the mandatory size and font” and a health warning statement in accordance with the law. There was no mention in the debate of heated tobacco packaging.
UK: Swindon Borough Council has announced that it has joined other local authorities in calling for the government to bring forward a new Tobacco Control Plan for England. A letter coordinated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and signed by councillors urges the health secretary Steve Barclay to adopt a ‘polluter pays’ levy on tobacco companies.
Egypt: Health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told a press conference that media companies were breaking the tobacco control law by indirectly advertising tobacco and portraying smoking as normal and culturally acceptable in TV dramas. He said he was also concerned about increasing advertising of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco. Akram Radwan, a member of the Health Committee, suggested banning TV from portraying the use of any tobacco product.
Azerbaijan: President Ilham Aliyev has signed an order “On strengthening state control in the field of import and production of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages”, media reports. It instructs the economy ministry to submit proposals within six months for a gradual increase in excise rates on tobacco products.
Serbia: Speaking at a conference on cancer, health minister Danica Grujičić called for public support for a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. “The Ministry of Finance, which claims that the state makes money from cigarettes, must be pressured. The priority must be people’s health,” she said. Though she belongs to the same governing party as the finance minister, Sinisa Mali, Grujičić is the first health minister in several governments to speak about the need for a public smoking ban. She told the press today that a proposal had already been drawn up to ban smoking in hospitality premises, but that it has yet to be adopted by the government before it goes before the National Assembly. It is not yet clear whether or not the proposal – which has yet to be made public – will tackle vaping.
Oman: The Consumer Protection Authority has issued a decree, No. 206/2023, raising the level of fines for using or distributing oral (non-smoked) tobacco products. The minimum fine for a first offence is now OMR100 ($260) and the maximum OMR1,000 OMR ($2,600) – up from OMR400 ($1,040) – to be doubled for a second offence.
US - New York: Governor Kathy Hochul has been criticised by state Democrats over the proposed statewide ban on tobacco and e-cigarette flavours, media reports. Critics say the proposed ban would be impractical to enforce and costly to state taxpayers. One said: “Small businesses in New York are at risk of being squeezed out by the proposed illegal tobacco regulations, which would only stimulate a larger underground market and encourage people to buy unregulated products.”
Luxembourg: Opposition MPs Nancy Kemp-Arendt and Martine Hansen yesterday submitted a parliamentary question asking the Ministry of Health for sales and consumption figures for nicotine pouches. They also asked whether nicotine pouches are covered by any specific regulatory framework, since they do not come under the tobacco law, and whether the government plans to regulate pouches in a similar way to tobacco products.
Hungary: The Ministry of Finance has told TobaccoIntelligence that approximately HUF63.8bn (€162.4m) was collected in taxes on heated tobacco products in 2022, while approximately HUF27bn (€69m) was raised in tax on nicotine pouches.