Inaccurate or absent labeling has long plagued cigarette sales in the country.
Rabat – Morocco’s government has approved on Thursday a bill about the system of raw and manufactured cigarettes in order to align that system with the 2021 Finance Bill.
The 2021 Finance Bill stipulates the creation of an internal consumption tax on e-cigarettes of MAD 1,500 ($163) for every 1,000 grams.
The government’s spokesperson, Saaid Amzazi, announced in a press release that Bill 66.20 is an expansion of a chapter within Law 02-46 about the labeling of tar and nicotine ratios on cigarette packs.
The new bill, which Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun presented, aims to implement labeling of ratios of carbon monoxide in addition to the existing labels.
The new legislation strives to comply with international standards about the maximum levels of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide in cigarettes. It also pledges to detail ratios in an organized text.
The bill represents a recognition from the government that cigarettes in Morocco do not comply with international standards.
Swiss journalists Marie Maurisse and Gie Goris led an investigation in 2017 about the cigarettes that Switzerland sells to Morocco, which revealed significantly higher ratios of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide than those sold in Switzerland or France.
Swiss watchdog organization Public Eye published the study showing that “in 2017, 2,900 tonnes of Swiss cigarettes were exported to Morocco, the equivalent of some 3.625 billion ‘ciggies.’”
Other reports in 2019 stated that 71% of cigarettes sold in Morocco contain 14 milligrams of tar, defying international legal standards for cigarettes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), e-cigarettes should be subject to policy and regulatory measures as with all other tobacco products, in line with WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).