EU proposes to ban flavored heated tobacco products

The European Union on Wednesday proposed a ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco products, part of a wider campaign to phase out tobacco use and reduce cancer rates in the bloc.

The proposal, spurred by an increase in the sale of heated tobacco products, aims to keep pace with the arrival of new products on the market and protect young people, said Stella Kyriakides, health commissioner for the executive branch. of the bloc, in a press release. statement.

“With nine out of 10 lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unsightly as possible to protect the health of our fellow citizens and save lives,” Ms Kyriakides said, adding that her agency’s mission was to reduce tobacco consumption at 5%. percent in the Member States by 2040.

Sales of heated tobacco have exploded in Europe, increasing by more than 2,000% between 2018 and 2020, according to a European Commission report published in June. The products now exceed 2.5% of the total sale of tobacco products in the region, the report said.

The ban would cover heated tobacco products, not those containing only nicotine.

The proposal is part of a broader review in Europe and the United States of the health effects of heated tobacco products and flavored nicotine products in vapes. It still needs to be approved by the European Council and European legislators; if the plan goes ahead, member states will have several months to put a ban in place.

Some public health organizations have suggested that heated tobacco products are less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

Heated tobacco was associated with 10 to 25 times lower exposure to a number of carcinogens, according to a 2020 study by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, which could mean a “significantly reduced relative risk” compared to normal cigarettes. In 2018, a British parliamentary committee also published a report this says that heated tobacco was probably less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

Dustin Dahlmann, chairman of the Independent European Vaping Alliance, said if the bloc was to achieve its target on tobacco use, alternatives to smoking had to exist. According to him, flavored products would attract smokers who want to quit.

But public health experts and lawmakers have raised concerns about the nicotine additive in some vaping products and whether alternative smoking products simply encourage nicotine use among young people.

The World Health Organization called vaping nicotine consumption harmful but added that it was too early to determine the long-term effects of their exposure. Nicotine use in children and adolescents has “deleterious impacts on brain development”, the organization said, adding that it could potentially lead to learning disabilities and anxiety.

Last year, the Netherlands declared he planned to ban flavored products used in e-cigarettes from 2023 to discourage children and young people from using them, but keep tobacco flavors for people who use them to quit smoking.

A spokesperson for British American Tobacco, the world’s largest tobacco company by net sales, said the company was disappointed with the proposal, adding that a “holistic approach” recognizing the role of tobacco products and “reduced risk” nicotine was needed instead. (The spokesperson noted, however, that these products are still not risk-free and addictive.)

More recently, a The American justice granted last week to Juula vaping brand popular with teens, a temporary reprieve to keep e-cigarettes on the market following a decision by the Food and drug administration to ban them.

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