The Council of Ministers has approved the draft Law on the Market for Tobacco and Other Related Products, a regulation that aims to equate the electronic cigarette and novel tobacco devices (like vapers) to conventional regulating its exclusive sale in tobacconists within a period of five years.
Thus, the control regime for the manufacture, distribution and retail trade of electronic cigarettes and novel tobacco devices will be progressively equated to that of conventional tobacco, all in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the health authorities, as explained by the Ministry of Finance in a statement.
Likewise, the regulation aims to contribute to modernizing the legal regime of the market for tobacco products and other related products, in such a way that a more effective fight against all kinds of illicit trade will be promoted and the safety of consumers will be guaranteed. The aim is to improve operator control and product traceability throughout the entire industrial and commercial chain.
Through the measures included in the draft Law, which reaches the Council in the first round, “the aim is to ensure a market that is neutral and transparent, which guarantees that all 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”.
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.
Control to promotions
Likewise, the rule 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 some brands, products or manufacturers over others.
Transparency in the sector will also be promoted, in line with international conventions and treaties, reinforcing the legitimacy of the Administration 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, that they must ensure that commercial and industrial activities that 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.
It also includes the modernization of the infractions and sanctions system to penalize and discourage those behaviors of the operators that fail to comply with their obligations, in accordance with the principle of proportionality.
With this rule, Spain fully complies with the obligations established in the regulations of the European Union and in international tobacco control conventions and treaties.