Clear policies needed for addressing violations of new generation tobacco products

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Managing electronic stamps for domestically produced cigarettes and alcohol products to prevent revenue lossManaging electronic stamps for domestically produced cigarettes and alcohol products to prevent revenue loss
The processing and manufacturing industry increased by 6.3% in four monthsThe processing and manufacturing industry increased by 6.3% in four months
Clear policies needed for addressing violations of new generation tobacco products
Over 100,000 electronic cigarette products were seized by the Market Management, Customs, and Police of Bac Ninh province in October 2023.

Handling nearly 8,000 cases of illegal and new generation tobacco

According to the General Department of Market Management, from 2020 to 2024, the General Department has regularly directed, inspected, supervised, and strengthened inspections, controls, and the handling of violations regarding the trade of illegal cigarettes, as well as the business, transportation, and storage of smuggled new generation tobacco products of unclear origin.

According to statistics, from 2020 to the first quarter of 2024, the market management forces nationwide have inspected 9,069 cases of smuggled cigarettes; violations involving smuggled cigarettes accounted for 7,215 cases, with the total value of violating goods exceeding 14 billion VND; violations involving new generation tobacco products amounted to 707 cases, with the total value of violating goods exceeding 92 billion VND.

Although the authorities have rigorously inspected and handled violations related to cigarettes and new generation tobacco products, according to the General Department of Market Management, regarding smuggled cigarettes, determining the value of prohibited goods to set the penalty framework and authority to impose fines (as stipulated in Article 60 of the Law on Handling Administrative Violations) faces many difficulties and obstacles. S

pecifically, prohibited goods do not have listed prices, import declarations, or price notices from local financial agencies, and market prices cannot be applied to determine the value. Therefore, the valuation council has no basis to determine the value of prohibited goods.

The General Department of Market Management proposes that the Government needs specific regulations to base the determination of the value of smuggled cigarettes for consistent application.

No basis for handling new generation tobacco

Regarding new generation tobacco (electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco), there are currently no clear management mechanisms or specific legal regulations to adjust social relations related to these products.

The business of new generation tobacco products is not among the prohibited investment and business sectors (as stipulated in Article 6 of the Investment Law 2020), and there are also no legal regulations prohibiting the production and business of new generation tobacco products. Therefore, for organizations and individuals producing and trading new generation tobacco, the authorities have no basis to apply legal provisions to handle administrative or criminal acts for the production and trade of prohibited goods.

According to the provisions of the Investment Law 2020, “Trading in tobacco products, raw materials, machinery, and equipment specialized in tobacco” belongs to the list of conditional investment and business sectors. However, at present, there is no basis to determine electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and under the scope of the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harm 2012 and related legal documents, and thus, there are no specific legal regulations governing the production and business activities of new generation tobacco products.

According to the General Department of Market Management, due to the lack of policies and unified legal regulations on the management of new generation tobacco products, the authorities can only impose administrative penalties on organizations and individuals trading new generation tobacco products for acts of trading smuggled goods, or goods of unclear origin. With this level of handling, it is not strong enough to deter such violations.

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