The European Commission has proposed banning flavored versions of heated tobacco

Health 29 June, 2022

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday, June 29, to ban in 27 countries of the European Union (EU) flavored versions of heated tobacco, a new type of product sold in the form of sticks to compete with electronic cigarettes. The proposal will now be considered by the EU Council and the European Parliament.

Thus, the text does not concern electronic cigarettes and their liquids, said Stefan de Keersmaeker, a representative of the European executive body, but concerns heated tobacco, which, if inhaled, can harm health. «Banning flavorings for these liquids is a decision that Member states have to make, it is not included in our proposal today», – added Mr. De Keersmaeker.

Heated tobacco is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. Launched by the industry in response to the success of electronic cigarettes, it uses a so-called solution for «heating» tobacco, which should limit the harmful effects associated with combustion and smoke emission. As with vaping, this tobacco is available in different flavors.

But the commission points out that «heating» nevertheless aims to release nicotine and causes the release of other chemicals potentially harmful to health.

In a press release, the European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides justified:

«Nine out of ten lung cancers are caused by tobacco, and we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives. To do this, it is necessary to take more decisive measures to reduce tobacco consumption (…) and keep up with development in order to cope with the relentless flow of new products entering the market, which is especially important for the protection of young people».

The sale of tobacco products was the subject of the 2014 European Directive, which establishes the legislative framework for the territory of the Union, but the changes observed in this market allow the Commission to change this base.

On Wednesday, the EU executive body highlighted the fact that sales of «heated tobacco products» increased by 10% or more in at least five EU countries, which is the minimum necessary to tighten legislation.

According to the Commission, between 2018 and 2020, sales of this latter type of product increased dramatically in several member States, in particular in France (an increase of 406%), Portugal (180%) or the Netherlands (153%).