Disposable E-cigarettes

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A chronology of recent developments

The Philippines: April 2024

The Philippines Government is considering to ban disposable vapes due to unregulated sales, tax evasion and health risks. The Finance Secretary also announced that they are monitoring retailers (including the online sites) selling unregistered (tax evaded) disposable vapes and they may impose penalties under the vape law, Republic Act 11900 (Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act).

Disposable vapes are subject to a “sin tax” PHP52 ($0.92) per milliliter of e-liquid. They are retailed between PHP120-PHP450 ($2-$5) per device and claimed to last up to 9,500 puffs (~25 packs of cigarettes) – implying that disposable vapes are sold significantly below the “full tax compliance” level. A pack of traditional cigarettes is subject to a PHP63 excise tax ($1.1) and retailed between PHP88-PHP156 ($1.6-$2.75).

Meanwhile, nearly a hundred thousand members of the tobacco grower/farmer associations called on the national government to put in practice the vape regulations (RA 11900) to combat the surge in illegal, disposable vapes that are threatening their livelihoods. About 2.2Mn Filipinos financially depend on tobacco growing – with roughly 20% of whom are farmers & families1,2.

France: March 2024

The French parliament reached an agreement to ban disposable e-cigarettes3. The prohibition is expected to come into force by the end of September 2024. The text was widely adopted by the National Assembly in December 2023 and then ratified by the French Senate in February 2024. As the final stage of the legislative procedure, members from both chambers convened in a joint committee and agreed on the final text.

The Bill still needs approval from the European Commission. The EC recently approved Belgium’s disposable e-cigarette ban while noting that “the proposed ban is justified, necessary and proportionate to the objective of protecting public health.”

New Zealand: March 2024

New Zealand will ban the sale of disposable vapes, increase fines to retailers that sell vapes to those under 18 and review the licensing of vape retailers.

UK: January 2024

“Disposable vapes will be banned in the UK as part of government plans to tackle the rise in youth vaping”, the UK Prime Minister announced. The recent figures show the number of children vaping has tripled in the past three years. Disposable vapes are seen as a key driver behind the rise in youth vaping as the proportion of 11 to 17-year-old vapers using disposables has increased nine-fold in the last two years. The measure comes as part of the Government’s response to the consultation on smoking and vaping (launched in October 2023).

September 2023

British pharmacy chain, Superdrug will stop selling single-use vapes in the UK and Ireland after concerns about the environmental impact of the product4,5. Superdrug stopped all purchases of single-use vapes (including brands such as BAT’s Vuse Go) and aims to have its stock completely cleared by the end of 2023.

Nearly five million disposable vapes, many of which contain lithium-ion batteries, are thrown away every week in Britain. In addition, concerns have also been raised about the popularity of disposable vapes among the underage users. According to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), 20.5% of children had tried vaping in the UK in 2023, up from 15.8% in 2022 and 13.9% before the Covid lock-down.

September 2023

Disposable vapes are set to be banned in Ireland in a crackdown that will also target flavors and advertising6. Meanwhile, BAT criticizes the Irish Government for “dragging its heels” on the underage vaping issue.

The UK is also planning to ban single-use/disposable vapes7 as the government concluded these products are overwhelmingly aimed at under-18s. The move comes after a series of calls from councils, leading pediatricians and public waste campaigners to make selling the disposable devices illegal on health and environmental grounds.

May 2023

France is weighing ban on disposable e-cigarettes8. Sweet and fruit-flavored single-use e-cigarettes (known as “puffs” in France) are sold for €8-12 (500 puffs)

Feburary 2023

PMI launches VEEBA (a disposable e-cigarette licensed from Kaival Brands) in the UK9. VEEBA retails at £4.99 and guarantees a nicotine level of 1.8% (20 mg/ml) with each production batch checked & certified for liquid composition and nicotine content.

The distant category leader, Elf Bar, apologizes after independent lab tests found that its 600s line contain 50+% more nicotine than legally allowed10 11. However, the top UK chains (including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Morrisons and Asda) removes all or a range of Elf Bar products from sale

Meanwhile, “disposable vapes should be immediately banned in Britain”, ex-health minister demands and urges MPs to back her Disposable E-cigarettes (Prohibition of Sale) Bill12…as the ASH calls on the UK Government to introduce an excise tax for disposable e-cigarettes in the March Budget13.

Feburary 2023

BAT calls on the US FDA to adopt a new enforcement policy directed at illegally marketed disposable e-cigarettes14.

January 2023

A ban on disposable e-cigarettes is put under consideration in Scotland15.

November 2022

Environmental and health groups in the UK have issued a joint open letter to the government demanding a ban on the sale of single-use e-cigarettes16.

Meanwhile, Imperial Tobacco enters the UK disposable vape market with its new blu bar vape range17 – claiming that disposables are now accounting for the 70% of category sales in the UK.

October 2022

The Irish Government announces its plan to ban disposable vapes due to littering18.

August 2022

Reuters reports that the disposable vapes have reached $2+Bn retail turnover in the US – corresponding to a third of the market (- up from 2%, just 3 years ago)19.

July 2022

PMI launches VEEBA (“quality disposable vape at an ultra-low price”) in Canada following the international licensing agreement made with Kaival Brands20.

June 2022

US FDA grants PMTA to 2 NJOY “traditional” disposable e-cigarettes (both tobacco-flavored).

May 2022

BAT launches Vuse Go (disposable) in the UK in May

Background:

Modern disposables have been both the driver of category growth* and source of controversy over the past two years. Environmental concerns and popularity of the product among underage users are the two main points of debate surrounding the disposables. And the debate is progressively moving in a direction that some governments are already considering a total ban on the product.

* An extract from the BAT’s FY22 Earnings release: closed-system e-cigarette (re-chargeables and disposables) growth in the last 3 years in the top 5 markets (US, Canada, UK, France & Germany; 88% of the global closed-system retail turnover) can almost be fully attributable to the disposables

We expect the disposable e-cigarette bans (or alternative policies such as introduction of excise taxes, mandatory recycling programs, flavor restrictions, etc.) to become an universal phenomenon over the next 5 years as these products are now being “noticed”.

References:

  1. Tobacco farmers decry illicit, disposable vapes (mb.com.ph) ↩︎
  2. Government considers ban on disposable vapes (mb.com.ph) ↩︎
  3. After Belgium, France seeks Commission’s green light to ban disposable e-cigarettes – Euractiv ↩︎
  4. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/britains-superdrug-stop-selling-single-use-vapes-2023-09-22 ↩︎
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/sep/22/superdrug-to-stop-selling-single-use-vapes-in-uk-and-ireland ↩︎
  6. https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/disposable-vapes-set-to-be-banned-in-crackdown-that-will-also-target-flavours-and-advertising/a1221064990.html ↩︎
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/sep/11/ban-on-single-use-vapes-in-uk-could-be-imminent ↩︎
  8. https://lemonde.fr/en/france/article/2023/05/03/france-weighing-ban-on-disposable-e-cigarettes_6025253_7.html ↩︎
  9. https://www.betterretailing.com/product-news/vaping/philip-morris-enters-disposable-market-with-veeba-launch/ ↩︎
  10. https://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11716505/Company-admits-inadvertently-breaking-law-emerges-vapes-exceed-limit.html ↩︎
  11. https://dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11731903/Morrisons-joins-Tesco-Sainsburys-Asda-removing-best-selling-Elf-vape-bar-sale.html ↩︎
  12. https://dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11727789/Disposable-vapes-like-Elf-bars-BANNED-Britain-ex-health-minister-claims.html ↩︎
  13. https://telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/02/11/add-4-price-vapes-deter-children-say-campaigners/ ↩︎
  14. https://regulations.gov/document/FDA-2023-P-0430-0001 ↩︎
  15. https://bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-64336216 ↩︎
  16. https://independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/vapes-litter-therese-coffey-rspca-b2232162.html ↩︎
  17. https://conveniencestore.co.uk/products/imperial-tobacco-launches-blu-bar-disposable-vape-range/673895.article ↩︎
  18. https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/government-looking-ban-disposable-vapes-28230048 ↩︎
  19. https://reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/top-selling-flavored-disposable-e-cigarettes-2022-08-16 ↩︎
  20. https://prnewswire.com/news-releases/international-licensing-agreement-between-kaival-brands–philip-morris-international-moves-into-next-phase-301592201.html ↩︎

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