European Union: Ban on flavoured tobacco products

The 2014 European Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU, in relation to the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products prohibited the placing on the market of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours as of 20 May 2016.

Following a four year transitional period for flavours with more than a 3% market share, allowing consumers adequate time to switch to other products, no flavoured cigarettes and roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco will be allowed in the EU as of 20 May 2020. The measure applies to flavours such as menthol, vanilla or candy that mask the taste and smell of tobacco. The 27 EU Member States shall also prohibit the placing on the market of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco containing flavourings in any of their components such as filters, papers, packages, capsules or any technical features allowing modification of the smell or taste of these products or of their smoke intensity. The prohibition may be further extended to other categories of tobacco products under specific conditions defined in the legislation.

The use of flavours is a well-known strategy of the tobacco industry, aiming to increase the attractiveness of its products for young people and non-smokers, reducing the harshness of smoking tobacco products, as well as giving the mistaken impression that these products are less harmful. In order to tackle these tactics, Parties to the WHO FCTC are recommended by the Partial Guidelines for Implementation of Articles 9 and 10 to regulate, by prohibiting or restricting, ingredients that may be used to increase palatability in tobacco products.

The new measure has been developed in line with Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO FCTC, which define the obligations for Parties with respect to the regulation of the contents and emissions of tobacco products, and of disclosure of such information. Therefore, the European Union advances on tobacco product regulation across its jurisdiction through the entry into force of this ban, preventing the initiation of smoking among young people and protecting smokers’ efforts to engage in cessation of tobacco use.

The full text of the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) can be found here.

For more information, please write to , Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission.


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