Nicaragua: Electronic smoking banned



Since 2021, through Ministerial Resolution 334-2021 of the Ministry of Health, the requirements and procedures for sanitary registration of tobacco products were established and the marketing and use of electronic nicotine delivery systems, i.e., electronic cigarettes, vaporizers and other similar devices with or without nicotine was prohibited. However, there were no regulations or actions that prevented their import into the country.

Recently through Technical Circular 116/2022, dated September 6, the General Direction of Customs Services guided its officials and users in general on:

  • Prohibition of imports, exports, storage, distribution, commercialization and use of electronic cigarettes, vaporizers and other similar devices.
  • When these products are for personal use, in the case of travelers who bring them when entering or leaving the country. These devices will be confiscated by the customs authority when passing through customs checkpoints and will be delivered to the National Health Regulation Authority (ANRS) of the Ministry of Health.

If these type of devices are detected during the customs recognition of goods as commercial cargo, including when they are border crossing, and they are not declared within the international transit documentation, either upon entry or exit of the national territory, the authority will proceed with the retention and delivery to the aforementioned health authority, i.e. even if the final destination of the goods is not Nicaragua, if these products are not properly declared they will be confiscated.

This Technical Circular, in its numeral 2, among other points, states:

  • Customs clearance, including transit, will not be carried out if the company requesting it is not registered with the National Health Regulation Authority (ANRS), in compliance with the obligation of all companies engaged in the manufacture, import and export of tobacco products and their derivatives to register, also making it a mandatory requirement to present the Health Registration Certificate.
  • A physical and documentary review of the goods will be performed during customs clearance, with special emphasis on the labeling, which must include at least the country of origin, production and expiration date, lot and registration number, the indication "Only for sale in Nicaragua", the suggested price in Córdoba and the warning "Smoking is harmful to your health". In addition, it should not have any of the prohibitions contemplated in the Regulation of Law 727 "Law for the Control of Tobacco" such as phrases that suggest less toxicity, less damage to health, or that associate consumption with success or popularity, the use of patriotic symbols, among others.

Companies found responsible for illicit trade, non-compliance with regulations related to content and emissions, labeling, intellectual property rights, tax or customs provisions, among others, must assume the costs caused by the destruction of the confiscated products.

These provisions are in force since September 6, date of signature and publication on the web page of the General Customs Direction.

All the regulations are part of the sanitary control and regulation that have been carried out in the last years on tobacco products and its derivatives. Therefore, all economic operators related to such products must review if they are in compliance in order to avoid retention or seizure of products.

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