ASH Daily News for 21 May 2019



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UK
  • Man finds slice of bread in new packet of tobacco
International
  • US: Bill to increase age of sale for tobacco to 21 nationally introduced in the Senate
  • Taiwan: Petition to legalise heated tobacco exceeds response threshold
  • Saudia Arabia: Excise tax widened to cover e-cigarettes
  • Study: Teens make up majority of Juul’s Twitter following
Parliamentary Activity
  • Statutory instrument: The Tobacco Products (Descriptions of Products) (Amendment) Order 2019

 

UK
Man finds slice of bread in new packet of tobacco

A man was left stunned after finding a slice of bread in a brand new pack of tobacco purchased from a Tesco Express store in Cardiff.

The man returned to the same Express store and told the store manager about the incident. He was then given another pack of tobacco, which also had a slice of bread in it.

A spokesperson for Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which makes Amber Leaf, the brand of tobacco bought, said this was not the first time customers have reported unusual items in their tobacco products. According to JTI, the incident was a result of targeted criminal activity, where tobacco is switched for an alternative product. Tesco said it was an issue with the manufacturer when asked to comment.

Source: The Daily Mirror, 17 May 2019

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International
US: Bill to increase age of sale for tobacco to 21 nationally introduced in the Senate

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally introduced legislation on 20th May 2019 to raise the age for buying tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21 across the US.

The Bill is co-sponsored by Democrat Senator Tim Kaine. McConnell and Kaine respectively represent leading tobacco growing states, Virginia and Kentucky. Given McConnell’s influential position in the Senate, the Bill is expected to come up for a vote on the floor.

This Bill is the second to be introduced this year to raise the age of sale for tobacco to 21. Kaine pledged to work with the four senators who sponsored the previous Bill and McConnell mentioned their legislation in his speech without specifically saying if he supported it.

Source: CNN, 20 May 2019

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Taiwan: Petition to legalise heated tobacco exceeds response threshold

A petition to legalise heated tobacco products and subject them to the same taxes and charges as other tobacco products has gained more than 5,000 signatures on the Taiwanese Government’s public policy participation platform as of Monday 20th May 2019.

When a petition receives more than 5,000 signatures, the relevant government agency in charge is required to issue a public response on the platform within two months, or July 17 in this case.

The petition argues that many people already bring heated tobacco products into the country but without any regulation around them, a potential source of revenue gained through a “health and welfare surcharge on tobacco products” is being lost. The petition authors argue that introducing such a surcharge would boost Government finances and improve regulation around the new devices.

Source: Taipei Times, 20 May 2019

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Saudia Arabia: Excise tax widened to cover e-cigarettes

Saudi Arabia will expand an excise tax charged on tobacco and soda to include e-cigarettes and all drinks with added sugar as part of its efforts to boost non-oil revenue.

Sweetened drinks will be subject to a 50% levy, while e-cigarettes and e-liquids will face a 100% tax, according to a document issued by the kingdom’s tax authority. The date of implementation hasn’t been determined yet.

The kingdom began imposing the excise tax in 2017, applying a 50% levy on soda and 100% on energy drinks and tobacco. Separately, the government introduced a 5% value-added tax in January 2018.

Source: Bloomberg, 19 May 2019

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Study: Teens make up majority of Juul’s Twitter following

Almost half of the people who followed Juul Labs Inc on Twitter last year were not old enough to legally purchase e-cigarettes in the United States, according to a study published on Monday 20th May 2019.

Researchers analyzed data collected in April 2018 on public followers of Juul’s Twitter account (@JUULvapor) with at least one public tweet. About 45% of those who followed Juul were 13 to 17 years old, according to the study published online in JAMA Pediatrics. Only 19% of Juul’s followers were at least 21.

In a statement, Juul said it had questions about the study’s methodology, which it said “differs significantly” from data Twitter made available to the company. Juul also said that during the study timeframe it “proactively, manually blocked underage users from following our Twitter feed.” The company said it conducted an analysis drawing from Twitter’s back-end data that found users between the ages of 13 and 17 made up 3.9% of Juul followers in May 2018.

The study was not a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how following Juul directly impacts vaping habits.

Source: Reuters, 19 May 2019

JAMA Paediatrics: Estimated Ages of JUUL Twitter Followers

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Parliamentary Activity
Statutory instrument: The Tobacco Products (Descriptions of Products) (Amendment) Order 2019

Yesterday, Monday 20th May 2019, a new Statutory Instrument on The Tobacco Products (Descriptions of Products) (Amendment) Order 2019 was made and laid before the House of Commons.

The Purpose of the instrument is to introduce a new category of tobacco called ‘tobacco for heating’ for the purposes of excise duty.

A Tax Information and Impact Note covering this instrument was published on 6th July 2018 alongside the draft Finance Bill clauses for 2018-19, this has been updated as a result of changes to the impacts as a result of this instrument and is available on the website at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tax-information-and-impact-notes-tiins.

View Statutory Instrument