Presidential decree prohibiting the importation of electronic cigarettes
May 15, 2020
On February 19, 2020, the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) published a Presidential Decree in the Federal Official Gazette which will prohibit the importation of devices known as electronic cigarettes.
The Decree defines three types of electronic cigarettes. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (SEANs in Spanish) and Similar Systems Without Nicotine (SSSNs in Spanish) are commonly known as “electronic cigarettes” or “vapers”, and have refillable cartridges or cylinders filled with a liquid mix “containing nicotine”. Alternative Systems of Nicotine Consumption (SACNs in Spanish) are commonly known as “heat-not-burn”, and are products of tobacco that use aerosols to liberate nicotine. The Decree prohibits the importation of all three, as well as electronic cigarettes and vaporizing devices with similar uses.
Commercialization of electronic cigarettes in Mexico has been banned since May 2008, when the General Law for Tobacco Control was issued. However, the interpretation of other laws and legal actions still allowed certain commercial activities in relation to electronic cigarettes.
Now, in exercise of the Presidential powers through the Decree under comment, the President finally modified the General Law of Import and Export Taxes in accordance with the General Law for Tobacco Control and implemented this prohibition.
Legal actions can be brought against this Decree by consumers, importers or vendors claiming violations to various civil rights, however, public interest should also be considered as a strategy on case-by-case basis.