Electronic cigarettes will be sold exclusively in tobacconists within a period of 5 years

The Government approves the Draft Law on the Tobacco Market to strengthen the fight against illicit trade and user safety

The new law will modernize the legal regime of the market for tobacco products and other related products

The Council of Ministers has approved the Draft Law on the Market for Tobacco and Other Related Products, a regulation that will contribute to modernize the legal regime of the market for tobacco products and other related productsso that a more effective fight against all kinds of illicit trade will be promoted and consumer safety will be guaranteed, improving the control of operators and the traceability of products throughout the entire industrial and commercial chain.

Through the measures contained in the Draft Bill, which reaches the Council in the first round, the aim is ensure a market that is neutral and transparentwhich guarantees that all the products that reach the consumer do so safely, fully complying with the regulations, and that the operators that intervene in the market throughout all the phases of the chain act in accordance with the legal system.

In this way, the objectives of the future law will be strengthen the transparency, neutrality and safety of products, to the benefit of consumers and users. With this standard, Spain fully complies with the obligations established in European Union regulations and in international conventions and treaties on tobacco control.

Comparison of the electronic cigarette to the conventional one

Among the main novelties presented by the draft is the one that will progressively equate the control system for the manufacture, distribution and retail trade of electronic cigarettes and tobacco devices innovative to conventional tobacco, all in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities.

Thus, it will regulate exclusive sale in tobacconists within five yearsthrough the network of tobacco outlets and state stamps, improving the control of products, reviewing their advertising and promotional activities and avoiding sales to minors and over the Internet.

Improvement and expansion of product monitoring

The supervision of tobacco products and other related products will also be improved, establishing the necessary measures so that all those that reach the consumer comply with European and Spanish regulations with full guarantees.

In addition, the scope of supervision will be extended to all industrial and commercial activities of tobacco products and related products, including the first transformation of raw tobacco, the sale of machinery for the production of tobacco products, manufacturing activities and wholesale trade. , the manufacture and sale of tobacco vending machines and, in general, to any individual or legal entity that intervenes in this market for commercial purposes.

Neutrality of the network of tobacconists

Likewise, the regulation contemplates reinforcing the principle of neutrality of the network of tobacco outlets and state stamps as one of the pillars of the retail monopoly, improving the control of promotional and advertising activities.

This is the principle that guarantees that the retail network does not directly or indirectly favor the consumption of certain brands, products or manufacturers in front of others.

It will also promote industry transparencyin line with international conventions and treaties, reinforcing the Administration’s legitimacy through the creation of public registries and publicizing the industry’s relations with the authorities in charge of its supervision.

Those registries would essentially be public registries of operators, operator facilities, manufacturing machines, and interest groups.

In accordance with international regulations, duties of diligence will be incorporated for operators, who must ensure that the commercial and industrial activities they carry out are carried out with legal operators and for lawful purposes.

Likewise, the regulatory, inspection and supervision powers of the Ministry of Finance and Public Function and the Commissioner for the Tobacco Market will be updated, in accordance with international and European Union regulations on market surveillance through various measures, modernizing the system of infractions and sanctions to penalize and discourage those behaviors of operators that fail to comply with their obligations, in accordance with the principle of proportionality.

Application of European and international regulations

This standard ensures full application of the obligations derived from Directive 2014/40/EU, on Tobacco Products and Related Products, among which those relating to the traceability system and security measures, who seek to fight against illicit trade and prevent the sale of counterfeit products or that violate the regulations.

Likewise, the obligations of EU Regulation 2019/1020 on Market Surveillance are complied with, which requires the creation of surveillance authorities for harmonized products such as tobacco, with the necessary powers and competences to control the adequacy of the products to the regulations, and exchange information with the European Commission and other surveillance authorities to improve supervision at European level.

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In this sense, the Commissioner for the Tobacco Market as surveillance authority in compliance with this community regulation.

Finally, the provisions derived from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Protocol for the Elimination of Illicit Trade, such as the definition of operator and the subjective and objective scope of control, the system of licenses, ratings or authorizations for operators, the creation of public records, or the principle of due diligence.

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