Legislation Delayed, Postponements: Where's Disposable Ban in Europe Heading?

Regulations by 2FIRSTS
Legislation Delayed, Postponements: Where's Disposable Ban in Europe Heading?
What is the background behind the implementation of the disposable ban in these countries? What obstacles will they face before it is actually implemented? 2FIRSTS has conducted an analysis of the advancement of relevant policies.

Poland's Minister of Health, Izabela Leszczyna, announced during a press conference on March 21st that legislation banning disposable e-cigarettes is expected to be completed in April. When asked about the timing of the bill announced at the end of February prohibiting the sale of disposable e-cigarettes, Leszczyna acknowledged that the original deadline of March had been postponed due to other tasks and assured that April would be the final deadline for the legislation to be enacted.


According to data from the World Health Organization, one out of every five cigarettes sold globally is a disposable flavored e-cigarette. Although no European Union country has explicitly banned e-cigarettes, following in the footsteps of the UK, a wave of legislation is set to ban disposable e-cigarettes in Western markets by 2024. Countries such as France, Belgium, and even Australia and New Zealand in Oceania have stated their intention to ban the sale of disposable e-cigarettes at their own pace.


What is the background behind the implementation of the disposable ban in these countries? What obstacles will they face before it is actually implemented? 2FIRSTS has conducted an analysis of the advancement of relevant policies.


Poland: Legislation to be implemented no later than April, with an annual sales estimated to be in the billions.


In recent years, sales of disposable e-cigarettes in Poland have surged. Data shows that sales reached 32 million in 2022 and surpassed 100 million by 2023.


According to a report from the Polish Market Monitoring Center, the market value of disposable e-cigarettes in Poland is estimated to be around 2 billion Polish zlotys (500 million US dollars). Polish Minister of Health, Izabela Leszczyna, stated in a television interview that implementing a ban on disposable e-cigarettes is "urgent.


France: The ban on disposables is expected to take effect in September of this year.


On March 21st, the French parliament reached an agreement to ban disposable e-cigarettes. The ban is expected to come into effect at the end of September 2024, prohibiting the manufacturing, sale, or free provision of disposable e-cigarettes. Offenders will face a fine of 100,000 euros.


The bill was passed in Parliament in December 2023, unanimously approved in the Senate in early February, and a consensus was reached by a joint committee of members from both houses on March 21st. The government immediately announced its decision to notify the European Commission. The committee has six months to verify the legislation. If approved, it will come into effect in September.


Belgium: Tax on e-liquid expected to be implemented starting from 2026.


Starting from January 1, 2024, Belgium will implement a new tax policy on e-liquids, charging a tax of 15 cents per milliliter. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance stated that the tax rate of this policy is in line with that of Germany, and may potentially increase in the coming years.


Belgian authorities have decided to ban the sale of disposable e-cigarettes starting from January 1, 2026. In order to comply with European law, especially the Tobacco Products Directive (Directive 2014/40/EU), Belgium needs approval from the European Commission to implement its new regulation. According to reports, the European Commission has announced its support for Belgium's bill to ban the sale of disposable e-cigarettes in the country. Belgium will become the first country in the European Union to prohibit disposable e-cigarettes within its territory.


Others: 7 major associations call for a complete ban by 2024; Europe's largest all-cargo airline ceases transporting disposables.


In March 2023, seven major associations in Europe, including the European Federation of Waste Management and Resource Utilisation (FEAD), the European Waste-to-Energy Plants Association (CEWEP), the European Battery Recycling Association (EBRA), the European Recycling Industries Confederation (EuRIC), the European Federation of Glass Processors (FERVER), Municipal Waste Europe, and WEELABEX, jointly called for a ban on the use of disposable e-cigarettes by the end of 2024 due to their negative impact on the environment and circular economy goals.


The main reason is the environmental impact of the lithium batteries in disposable e-cigarettes: Incorrect and irresponsible disposal methods have caused multiple fires in public streets, household trash cans, municipal waste collection bins, waste collection trucks, and waste management facilities.


Shortly after, other sectors of the European disposable e-cigarette supply chain began to release some "uncooperative" signals: Luxembourg-based cargo airline, Cargolux, announced in a statement that it and its subsidiary, Cargolux Italia, have decided to cease transporting disposable e-cigarettes.


Cargolux expressed the hope that this move will prompt other logistics companies to take similar actions. It remains to be seen if other service providers in different sectors will follow suit with "decoupling," and what commercial impacts this decoupling will bring.


2FIRSTS will continue to track the changes in disposable regulatory policies in the EU market.


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