New regulations come into force today for tobacco related products

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New regulations come into force today for tobacco related productsThe Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (LN 67 of 2016), transposing the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU will come into force today.

These regulations, enacted under the Tobacco (Smoking Control) Act (CAP. 315), regulate the manufacture, production and presentation of tobacco products, and introduce regulations for other tobacco-related products.

The Superintendance of Public Health has said in a statement today that, tobacco is a known cause of premature death globally. In Malta, the average annual deaths attributable to smoking in males and females between 1999-2013 were estimated to be 396 and 111 deaths respectively. Another concern is the take up of smoking by youths. Research shows that 70% of smokers start before the age of 18 and 94% before the age of 25 years.New regulations come into force today for tobacco related productsThese new regulations regulate tobacco products in a way that reflects the specific characteristics of tobacco products, such as their addictiveness and their health consequences which include mouth, throat and lung cancer; cardiovascular problems; increased risk of blindness; impotence, lower fertility and the impact on the unborn child.

Measures included in the regulations enable the public to take informed decisions about the products, based on information on the health consequences of consuming tobacco products. Another aim of these regulations is to make tobacco products and tobacco consumption less attractive in particular for young people.New regulations come into force today for tobacco related productsThe regulations include the following key measures:

• A ban on cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours such as fruit flavours, menthol or vanilla. Tobacco products containing additives in quantities that increase in a significant or measurable manner the toxic or addictive effect, or the carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic properties are also banned.

• Mandatory reporting on ingredients for all tobacco products through a standardised electronic format.

• Minimum dimensions for the health warnings. Cigarette packs must have a cuboid shape and each pack will contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes. Slim; 'lipstick'-style cigarette packs, often targeted to young women, will no longer be allowed.

• Combined picture and text health warnings covering 65 % of the front and the back of packages of tobacco products for smoking. In addition, each packet of smoking tobacco must carry the general warning, "Smoking kills" and the information message, "Tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer". Specific rules apply for the placement and size of all warnings.

• Other tobacco products such as pipe tobacco, cigars, and cigarillos must carry a general warning and an additional text warning.

• Introduction of a tracking and tracing system, together with safety features in order to strengthen the fight against illicit trade and falsified products.

• Regulation of cross-border distance sales of tobacco products. Retailers wishing to sell tobacco products cross-border must notify their activity prior to the first sale. An age-verification system must be in place to ensure that tobacco products are not sold to minors.

• Electronic cigarettes are subject to a number of safeguards (e.g. maximum concentration of nicotine of 20 mg/ml, maximum single use cartridge size of 2 ml) and requirements (e.g. notification to the competent authority prior to placing on the market, new packaging and labelling requirements, reporting of ingredients, inclusion of an information leaflet, and specific rules on advertising).

These regulations can be found in full here.

New regulations come into force today for tobacco related productsFor further information, please contact the Environmental Health Directorate on mhi@gov.mt.

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