THE IMPORTATION OF ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS OF NICOTINE CONSUMPTION INTO MEXICO IS PROHIBITED
Edmundo Elías- Fernández
On October 22, 2021, the President of Mexico published in the Federal Official Gazette the Decree amending the Tariff of the General Import and Export Duties Law (the “Decree”), to guarantee health protection rights and a healthy environment for the development and welfare of Mexico’s population against the devastating health, social, environmental, and economic consequences of smoking.
1. On July 1, 2020, the “Decree through which the General Import and Export Duties Law is issued, and several provisions of the Customs Law are added and amended” was published in the Federal Official Gazette.
2. On July 16, 2021, the “Decree amending the Tariff of the General Import and Export Duties Law” was published in the Federal Official Gazette, through which the description of tariff item 8543.70.18, was modified to eliminate the Alternative Systems of Nicotine Consumption (Sistemas Alternativos de Consumo de Nicotina or “SACN”). This decree appeared to imply the elimination of the prohibition to import SACN into Mexico.
What changed with the publication of the Decree?
The description of tariff items 3824.99.83 and 8543.70.18 of the Tariff of the General Import and Export Duties Law were modified to include SACN, as well as cartridges and/or removable tobacco units, to prohibit their importation into Mexico, as shown below:
Also, the National Note 16 of Chapter 85, “Electrical machinery, devices and equipment, and its parts; recording or reproducing sound devices, television image, and sound recording or reproducing devices, and its parts and accessories” of the Tariff of the General Import and Export Duties Law, was modified to include the SACN as part of the National Notes.
What is the purpose of the Decree amended?
Prevent non-smokers, young people, and those in the most vulnerable age groups from starting to use Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (Sistemas Electrónicos Alternativos de Nicotina “SEAN”), Similar Systems Without Nicotine (Sistemas Similares Sin Nicotina “SSSN”) and, SACN, by prohibiting its importation, sale, and distribution in Mexico, in addition to protecting the health of children and teenagers.
The above, because the competent authorities have concluded that there is scientific evidence on young people who start using the SEAN, SSSN and SACN, which increased their possibilities of smoking combustible cigarettes by two to four times, increasing the tobacco epidemic.
Why was the importation of SACN into Mexico prohibited?
As a result of several medical studies, as well as reports from the World Health Organization, it was determined that SACNs are harmless to health, and they do not represent a lower risk to human health compared to the combustible tobacco products that they are intended to replace, as had been previously believed.
The use of the SACN generates inflammation in the respiratory tract due to the temperature ranges in which toxic irritant elements included in the aerosol are produced, which can generate low oxygenation of the blood and even respiratory failures.