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European Council Considers EU-Wide Flavour Ban On All Nicotine Products

By Oliver Smith 26th June 2024 3 Mins


The European Council is contemplating an EU-wide ban on flavours for all nicotine products, such as vapes and nicotine pouches, driven by proposals from Denmark and Latvia.

This potential legislation was recently discussed by the European Council on June 21, 2024, as part of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meeting, in which some EU Health Ministers made alarming statements in support of a flavour ban.

The proposals aim to incorporate this ban into the next iteration of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

Denmark and Latvia, with backing from Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain, are all pushing for the flavour ban.

Denmark’s motivation stems from their desire to protect young people from nicotine addiction.

The Danish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey is cited as a justification, although it doesn’t directly measure vaping among middle school students.

Despite a decline in smoking rates among Danish youth, authorities believe stricter regulations on nicotine products are necessary.

Denmark has already banned flavours, excluding tobacco and mint, for vaping products since 2021.

However, surveys indicate that many Danish vapers continue to use a variety of flavours.

Advocates like SOVAPE argue that such a ban could undermine the harm reduction efforts made over the last two decades.

They stress the importance of flavour diversity in helping smokers quit, as evidenced by a 2023 survey where 88 percent of French vapers who quit smoking cited flavour variety as a significant factor.

Critics also highlight that imposing an EU-wide ban without thorough evaluation and impact analysis could be detrimental.

They argue that health policies should be based on rational, evidence-based analyses rather than emotional responses to potentially biased data.

The European Commission is already evaluating the existing TPD, and critics believe there’s no immediate need for additional restrictions.

If the ban is adopted, it could set a precedent affecting millions of European vapers…the proposal aims to exclude risk reduction principles from the TPD revision process, potentially impacting the availability and use of vaping products across the EU.

As EU institutions prepare for the next legislative period and with Denmark set to hold the presidency during the next Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) COP in 2025, the political landscape is primed for significant changes.

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Oliver Smith