In the latest in an ongoing series of quarterly briefings looking at major (and some minor) developments in the world of tobacco, we assess the latest performance of the major multinationals, important cannabis and NPD/NGP updates, the reviewed economic growth projections for the world’s key markets, and what to look for in the next quarter.
Q1 2019 was yet another eventful period for the US tobacco industry. First, the FDA’s commissioner drafted letters to Altria and Juul Labs questioning their commitment to curbing youth vaping in light of their newly formed partnership. Then, Gottlieb added that e-cigarette companies face an existential threat if they continue marketing to the youth. Soon after, the commissioner announced he is stepping down as the head of the agency. This led to an initial upsurge in tobacco stocks as some envisaged changes to FDA policies. However, Gottlieb’s successor, the Director of the National Cancer Institute Dr. Ned Sharpless, will likely continue the agency’s current plan. Furthermore, the FDA is bringing forward the PMTA deadline for all flavoured ENDS products to 8 August 2021, a year earlier than previously planned, and proposing to end the current compliance policy. As a result, the agency expects that some flavoured e-cigarette products and flavoured cigars will no longer be sold at all, while others will continue to be sold only in a manner that prevents youth access.
In January, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill imposing new restrictions on the industry. The law imposes a near blanket ban on advertising, with a few exceptions, mainly print media, for all categories including e-cigarettes. Plain packaging has also been approved. All rules will come into effect by January 2020.
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