Switzerland is amongst the 13 countries which have not endorsed the FCTC, partly due to regulations related to advertising.
Switzerland, is known for being the home base of the world’s tobacco giants and also for having in place some of the weakest tobacco laws in the world. Earlier this year a WHO official complained that despite the fact that this year’s World Health Organization conference FCTC COP8, was held in Geneva, Switzerland has not yet ratified the tobacco control treaty.

Infact Switzerland is amongst the 13 countries which have not endorsed the FCTC, partly due to regulations related to advertising. Some of the other countries such as the United States, Argentina, Malawi and Cuba, are thought to have rejected the treaty as they tend to be the main tobacco growers.

Meanwhile, “The people’s initiative” which was launched in 2018, aims to rectify this and calls for a ban on “any form of advertising [of tobacco products] that reaches children and young people.” Only tobacco advertising directly targeting adults would be allowed. The initiative, which is also striving to ban sponsorships by tobacco firms, is made up of alliance health groups, sports organisations, doctors and teachers, and is supported by a large number of public health associations. Swiss voters will have the opportunity to vote on tobacco advertising on February 13th.

Proposed vape tax

Meanwhile, the Federal Council has also recently proposed extending the current tax on tobacco onto vaping liquids, and plans to do so at a rate that reflects the lower toxicity levels of the products. The government does not want to discourage tobacco smokers from switching from smoking to vaping, and therefore it proposes a tax rate that is 77% lower than the one imposed on regular cigarettes.

Additionally, the e-liquid tax is planned to be relative to the different nicotine contents in the products. In fact one idea is to tax the nicotine content in vape liquids for open systems, which means that taxes would increase with with rising nicotine content. While for disposable devices or ones using cartridges, the tax would be based on the quantity of liquid contained in them regardless of the nicotine content.

The government believes that such a tax could be easy to enforce and would generate around CHF 15.5 million a year, which could go towards social services. The Federal Council’s proposal, which will be discussed until 31 March 2022, responds to a motion approved by the parliament and the Council of States in March 2021.

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