Regulation: E-cigarettes

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Poland & Scotland: Feburary 2024

A Health Ministry official disclosed the plans to ban disposable e-cigarettes in Poland1 alongside the efforts to implement the EU Directive eliminating characteristic flavors for heated tobacco products (recall: Regulation: Heated Tobacco). Additionally, the draft law will empower the Bureau of Chemical Substances to mandate further testing or information from manufacturers of novel tobacco / nicotine products to facilitate a thorough assessment of their market impact and health implications. The enforcement measures for illegal product distribution could include fines up to PLN200,000 (~$50,000) or criminal penalties. In 2023, ~100Mn e-cigarettes were sold in Poland – nearly 90% of which were imports from China and distributed without any prior testing.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government published regulations and a short two week consultation on plans to ban disposable vapes by April 2025. 

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 announced2. 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).   

As part of the legislative package, new powers will be introduced to restrict youth-appealing flavours and ensure that manufacturers produce plainer, less visually appealing packaging. The powers will also allow the Government to limit how vapes are displayed at retail.  

To crack down on underage sales, the Government will also bring in new fines for shops in England and Wales which sell vapes illegally to children. Trading Standards officers will be empowered to act on-the -spot to tackle underage tobacco and vape sales. This builds on a maximum £2,500 fine that local authorities can already impose. 

The Government also reiterates its commitment to bring about the first smoke-free generation and to introduce a new law that will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on/after 1 January 2009. 

To help ensure the success of the smoke-free generation plan, £30Mn annual new funding will be provided to bolster enforcement agencies – including Border Force, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and Trading Standards – to implement these measures and stamp out opportunities for illicit trade.  

UK: January 2024

Disposable vape ban could be announced in the UK as early as next week3. Restrictions on e-cigarette flavors & marketing activities, retail licensing and introduction of vape (excise) tax are among the other measures expected to be unveiled. The British media speculates that vapes may be limited to 4 flavours only: tobacco, mint, menthol and fruit.

The clampdown aims to address the rise in youth vaping. According to a survey released in June 2023 by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), more than 20% of children aged 11 to 17 had tried vaping by 2023 (up from ~14% in 2020). The increase is driven overwhelmingly by disposables with Elf Bar being the most popular product. According to another survey, e-cigarette use among the 11-17 years old increased from 7.7% in 2022 to %11.6 in 2023.

In the traditional retail channel, disposable vapes now generate 83% of all category sales following a remarkable growth since the launch of Elf Bar in 2021. UK is the world’s second largest e-cigarette market and is home to more than 4.7Mn adult vapers (i.e. 3Mn exclusive and 1.7Mn dual users).

Ireland: December 2023

Ireland bans the sale of a nicotine inhaling product, such as e-cigarettes, to those under 184. Violations can result in a fine of up to €4,000 and six months in prison. The ban in the Republic of Ireland mirrors similar legislation in the UK. England and Wales made the ban in 2015; Scotland and Northern Ireland followed the course in 2017 and 2022, respectively.

In November 2023, the Irish Government launched a public consultation on the future regulation of vapes. The public consultation on the proposed measures (such as, a strict licensing system for the retail sale of all nicotine-inhaling products) is open until January 5, 2024. Further e-cigarette regulation (including restrictions on flavorings and packaging) and tobacco control proposals will be revealed 2024.

Imperial Brands on Regulation: December 2023

Imperial calls for more targeted vaping regulation in the UK5 to prevent youth access and the rise of illicit vapes:

– outright ban on vapes being deliberately marketed to youth

– reform of flavor names and a ban on packaging that deliberately appeals to under 18s

– more effective regulation and stronger deterrents against illicit trade (including Fixed Penalty Notices and a retailer licensing scheme)

–  introduction of an excise duty on all vaping products. 

Imperial Brands is against the proposed Generational Tobacco Ban and an outright ban on disposable vapes.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) urges governments to treat vapes similarly to cigarettes and ban all flavors (including menthol)6. WHO also calls for the application of tobacco control measures, such as taxation and bans on use in public places, to vapes.

France: December 2023

National Assembly (lower house of the French Parliament) passed the legislation banning single-use, disposable e-cigarettes7. The legislation will now move to the Senate (upper house) and is expected to go into effect by September 2024. Australia banned the importation of disposable vapes from 1 January 2024. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany are currently considering similar measures.

Laos: December 2023

Laos will become the fifth ASEAN country (following Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand) to ban e-cigarettes. The Lao government is set to amend its legislation on drug prevention and control to incorporate e-cigarettes into the list of prohibited substances.

Australia: November 2023

Australia unveils a plan to crack down on vaping8 amid “new generation of nicotine dependency” (quoting the Australian Health Minister). Despite a 2021 ban on the purchase or importation of vapes without a prescription from a doctor, about one in seven underage (14-17 years old) and one in five young adults (18-24 years old) are vaping according to the government’s data from Q1 2023.

The importation of disposable vapes will be banned from 1 January 2024. Importers/manufacturers of therapeutic vapes (available only with a prescription from a medical practitioner) will be required to provide pre-market notifications to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) prior to the importation/supply of vapes from 1 March 2024. In anticipation of the new restrictions, both the TGA and the ODC (Office of Drug Control) are preparing forms and instructions to notify compliant products and obtain customs licences and permits. Personal importation of vapes will be disallowed from 1 March 2024.

Moreover, standards for therapeutic vapes (flavor restrictions, nicotine concentration limits and plain pharmaceutical packaging) will be strengthened by 1 March 2024 with a transition period to be allowed for businesses to comply with the new requirements.

The Australian government will allot an additional A$25Mn to the Australian Border Force and A$56.9Mn to the TGA over two years to eliminate the illicit vaping market.

BAT on Regulation: November 2023

BAT calls for more stringent regulation in the UK to make vaping industry more responsible9:

– Marketing slogans, imagery (involving toys, cartoons, and sweets) and flavors (dessert and soft drink flavors) targeting underage should be banned – while recognizing the role of fruit and menthol flavors as an important driver of adoption for adult smokers seeking alternatives

– Vaping product sellers should be licensed (similar to alcohol and cigarette licences)

– It should be mandatory for disposable vapes to have removable batteries (to make recycling more straightforward)

– Vaping products shipped to the UK should be subject to a mandatory testing program to ensure compliance with UK regulations. 

Ahead of the consultation deadline for the Tobacco and Vapes Bill (ending on December 6), BAT launches a multi-pronged media campaign with proposals that seek to limit vaping’s appeal/access to the underage and reduce the environmental impact of disposable vapes.

Quebec (Canada): October 2023

Quebec’s flavored e-cigarette ban10 came into effect on October 31, 2023. The province also imposes volume cap on the e-liquid containers (2ml for pods, 30ml for refills) and limits the maximum nicotine concentration to 20 mg/ml. Quebec’s flavor ban follows similar restrictions imposed in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The UK: October 2023

The UK Government sets out next steps to create “smoke-free generation” and launches a 8-week public consultation on youth vaping, disposable e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches and “generational tobacco ban”11,12. This follows the UK PM unveiling plans to make cigarettes inaccessible for the younger generations and stating the government’s concerns about the worrying rise in youth vaping.

Proposals being consulted on include:

– Making it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products

– Restricting the youth-appealing flavors, descriptions, packaging and product presentation for e-cigarettes

– Regulating the display of e-cigarettes in retail outlets

– Restricting the sale of disposable e-cigarettes

– Exploring further restrictions for non-nicotine e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches

– Exploring whether increasing the price of e-cigarettes will reduce the young vaping

– Introducing new powers for local authorities to issue fines to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

BAT on Regulation: September 2023

BAT outlines a 5-step plan towards better vaping regulation13: (1) On-device technology and functionality for underage prevention, (2) A balanced view on flavors, (3) Market denial for non-compliant products, (4) Reasonable safeguards at the point-of-sale, (5) Enforcement & penalties.

BAT also calls for smarter regulations to achieve smoke-free ambitions14 and defines “smarter” as evidence based, consultative by nature and achieving its policy aims while also avoiding unintended consequences.

Australia: September 2023

Tougher laws to crack down on cigarettes and vaping to be presented in the parliament15

– E-cigarettes to be brought under Australia’s tobacco laws (subject to the same advertising restrictions)

– Graphic warnings on individual cigarettes

– Additives (like menthol) to be banned

– Pack/product sizes and filter designs to be standardized

– “Names that imply reduced harm” to be banned

– Health promotion inserts to be included in packs

If the legislation passes, changes will come into effect in April 2024.

New Zealand: August 2023

New vaping regulations introduced16,17

– Maximum allowable nicotine strength in single-use (disposable) e-cigarettes: 20mg/mL

–  Ban on new vape shop opening within 300 meters of schools and marae (Polynesian temple enclosure)

– All e-cigarettes to have removable batteries and child-safety mechanisms

– Only generic flavor descriptions allowed.

Venezuela: August 2023

Bans the production, distribution, commercialization, import/export, advertising/promotion and consumption of e-cigarettes (Official Gazette No: 42’682; dated August 1, 2023)18

Venezuela becomes the 8th country in the Americas with complete e-cigarette sales prohibition – following Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname and Uruguay19

Ukraine: July 2023

Smoking legislation moves closer to the EU Standards. A law, adopted on July 11, 2023, prohibited the production & sale of flavored cigarettes (including heated tobacco) and vapes in Ukraine. Existing stocks to be depleted in one year.

Australia: May 2023

Aims to crack down on recreational vaping through a set of controls on imports and packaging20

– non-prescription vapes banned from importation

– vapes required to have pharma-like packaging

– all single-use/disposable vapes banned.

Russia: April 2023

Russia aims to crack down on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products21. A bill passed by the State Duma would regulate vapes and HTP like regular cigarettes. Approval in the upper chamber and sign-off by the president are the next steps

Malaysia: April 2023

Malaysia removes the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes from the list of substances controlled by the 1952 Poison Act22, effectively legalizing e-cigarettes without any regulations in place, and imposes an excise tax of 40 sen/ml from April 1.

Mexico: January 2023

Brings into force one of the world’s strictest anti-tobacco laws by enacting a total ban on smoking in public places23. Mexico’s existing 2008 law is now extended to an outright ban in all public spaces – including parks, beaches, hotels, offices and restaurants. There will also be a total ban on the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products, including in-store displays. E-cigarettes are also subject to new restrictions, particularly on the indoor use.

Taiwan: January 2023

Lawmakers approved the proposed amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act

– banning e-cigarettes

– requiring heated tobacco products to comply with the law

– raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 20.

Italy: January 2023

Italy announces new measures against cigarettes and novel tobacco/nicotine products. Indoor smoking rooms and smoking in open-air in the presence of minors and pregnant women will be banned. Indoor/outdoor smoking and advertising bans will be extended to cover e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

The Netherlands: December 2022

All e-cigarette flavors, except tobacco, will be banned on Oct 1, 202324. The government announced in 2020 that it planned to ban flavored vapes because they see it as a stepping stone for teenagers toward cigarettes

Vietnam: November 2022

The Ministry of Health proposes ban on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products25.

Thailand: Feburary 2022

According to media reports, Thailand considers legalization of e-cigarettes26. Thailand is home to 10Mn smokers and e-cigs were banned there since 2014. This follows the recent ratification of (pro-ENDS) “Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation” by the Congress in the Philippines (home to 16Mn smokers)

However, in Aug 2022, Thailand re-affirmed that the ban on e-cigarettes will remain.

China: November 2021

Amends its tobacco monopoly law to include e-cigarettes, stepping up regulation of the fast-growing vaping industry in the world’s largest tobacco market27

References:

  1. https://www.polskieradio.pl/395/7789/Artykul/3342633,poland-moves-to-ban-ecigarette ↩︎
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/disposable-vapes-banned-to-protect-childrens-health ↩︎
  3. Single-use vapes ‘will be banned’ under crackdown on e-cigarette epidemic in children | Daily Mail Online ↩︎
  4. Vape sales banned for under-18s in Republic of Ireland – BBC News ↩︎
  5. https://www.imperialbrandsplc.com/media/key-announcements/2023/imperial-brands-calls-for-more-targeted-vaping-regulation-to-pre ↩︎
  6. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/ban-flavoured-vapes-who-says-urging-tobacco-style-controls-2023-12-14/ ↩︎
  7. French Assemblée Nationale votes to ban single-use e-cigs (lemonde.fr) ↩︎
  8. New regulations to place stronger controls on importation, manufacture and supply of vapes | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ↩︎
  9. https://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__CRHJSY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DOCXVLZL ↩︎
  10. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-vaping-product-regulations-1.6925473 ↩︎
  11. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-next-steps-to-create-smokefree-generation ↩︎
  12. Government drive to phase out smoking and tackle youth vaping attracts large response – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ↩︎
  13. https://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__CRHJSY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DOCVTKC7# ↩︎
  14. https://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__CRHJSY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DOCVTGSP ↩︎
  15. https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/new-laws-to-fight-tobacco-and-nicotine-addiction ↩︎
  16. https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/news-items/vaping-and-smoked-tobacco-regulations-published-today ↩︎
  17. Implementation timeline: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/regulation-vaping-herbal-smoking-and-smokeless-tobacco-products/about-smokefree-environments-and-regulated-products-vaping-amendment-act ↩︎
  18. https://orinocotribune.com/government-of-venezuela-bans-use-and-sale-of-e-cigarettes ↩︎
  19. Eight countries in the Americas ban electronic cigarettes – PAHO/WHO | Pan American Health Organization ↩︎
  20. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/05/02/australia/australia-vaping-ban-intl-hnk/index.html ↩︎
  21. https://www.rt.com/russia/574535-russia-electronic-cigarettes-ban ↩︎
  22. https://www.theedgemarkets.com/node/661680 ↩︎
  23. https://bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-64279351 ↩︎
  24. https://nltimes.nl/2022/12/01/dutch-ban-flavored-e-cigarettes-begin-october-1-tobacco-flavor-allowed ↩︎
  25. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/health-ministry-proposes-ban-on-vaping-heated-tobacco-products-4539725.html ↩︎
  26. https://bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2379801/ban-on-e-cigarettes-to-remain ↩︎
  27. https://reuters.com/world/china/china-adds-e-cigarettes-tobacco-monopoly-law-2021-11-26 ↩︎

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