EU proposes to ban flavoured heated tobacco products as e-cigarette use surges

  • The EU hopes to ban the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products across the 27-nation bloc
  • The move follows health regulators in the United States last week ordering e-cigarette company Juul Labs to pull its products from the market
Agence France-Presse |

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The European Commission has proposed a ban on the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products, such as vapes, as part of its plan to fight cancer. Photo: Shutterstock

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to ban the use of flavoured heated tobacco products in Europe because of concerns about their increasing popularity and health effects.

“With nine out of 10 lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives,” said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a statement.

The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the ban was part of its ambition to decrease tobacco use in the 27-country bloc to less than five per cent of the population by 2040.

E-cigarettes and vapes don’t help you quit smoking, and may do more harm to your lungs

Flavoured heated tobacco products, much like oil for non-tobacco vaping devices, can come in a wide variety of flavours such as menthol, cherry or grape which critics say help attract younger users.

A recent Commission report decried an explosion in the sales of flavoured heated tobacco devices in the EU, giving it the right to widen an existing law from 2014 on the prohibition of tobacco products.

The report also said that a conservative estimate for 2020 put the share of retail sales for these products at 3.33 per cent of all tobacco products in the EU.

Flum Float disposable flavoured vaping products on display in a convenience store in El Segundo, California. Photo: AFP

The proposal will now undergo scrutiny by the EU’s 27 governments as well as the European Parliament and come into force if it faces no objections. Regulators worldwide are beginning to take a closer look at alternatives to traditional cigarettes, such as e-cigarettes, vaping and heated tobacco.

In the US, a court on Friday put on hold the health regulator’s decision to ban vaping products by industry giant Juul Labs over safety concerns.

Juul came under fire for a surge in youth vaping over its marketing of fruit and candy flavoured e-cigarettes, which it stopped selling in 2019.

In January 2020, US regulators said sale of e-cigarettes in flavours other than tobacco or menthol would be illegal unless specifically authorised by the government.

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