According to Italian news site sigmagazine, at a meeting of the Italian Federation of Tobacco Retailers (Fit), Mario Antonelli, president of the Italian Tobacco Federation, gave a comprehensive analysis of the tobacco industry in the 21st century. Antonelli expressed Fit’s support for the government’s implementation of a ban on the remote sale of e-cigarettes, and said that if sales merchants do not recycle disposable products, they will face administrative penalties, while improper disposal of recycling will face criminal penalties.
Antonelli also extensively discussed e-cigarettes as a tobacco product, and despite initial skepticism, supporters of e-cigarettes have come to dominate over the years, to the point where small trade associations that initially supported the spread of e-cigarettes have now joined Fit.
Calls for stronger regulatory controls on e-cigarettes
According to Antonelli, stores that specialize in selling e-cigarettes are gradually being replaced by tobacco retail stores.
Antonelli believes the market is currently divided into three distribution channels: specialty e-cigarette stores, online stores and tobacco retail stores.
Despite fierce competition, tobacco retail stores are still the preferred purchase location for about 60 percent of e-cigarette consumers. He believes that retailers need to maintain a level of professionalism and commitment to continually learn and grow this market, while also defending the physical sales channels that are currently being victimized by illegal online online channels.
“Online sales leave too many loopholes, and it’s time for lawmakers to act to protect legality and public health, especially minors, by closing them.”
He also said that 40 percent of users buy illegal products online. Curbing online channels is now becoming increasingly difficult, as Italian regulatory authorities themselves have acknowledged, and Antonelli, on behalf of the federation, supports the implementation of a ban on remote sales.
“We will propose and support a remote sales ban in various institutions in Italy and Europe.”
He said the measure was now necessary to protect consumers and physical sales networks. As an example, he said it would make no sense to strictly limit the nicotine content of vaping oils if minors were free to buy more nicotine products than required via the internet.
Strengthening the recall of disposable e-cigarette devices with the establishment of pro-criminal penalties
Antonelli also expressed his views on disposable products, a category that he believes has captured a significant share of the market.
He promised that tobacco retailers with physical sales networks would become recycling points for discarded e-cigarette devices.
“We are already working with the large distributor Logista and are also linked to the Italian environmental and electronic security sector. Our brick-and-mortar network will be a model for the proper disposal of discarded products and an effective demonstration of the circular economy. Selling these products also means taking responsibility for participating in their disposal.”
Antonelli hopes that an agreement will be reached in the coming days to minimize the administrative formalities and the costs associated with disposal.
He believes that this agreement reached will be in the interest of all.
“Failure to conduct a recall will result in administrative penalties, and improper handling of the recall will result in criminal penalties.”
Given that e-cigarettes do not have a fixed price like traditional tobacco, he also called on his peers to:
“We are prepared to support sustainability in practical ways because it also means we will give ‘core’ value to our physical distribution network.”