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Proposals To Create the First EU-Wide Generational Tobacco and Nicotine Ban ‘Will Not Work and Could Be Illegal’

By Patrick Griffin 23rd December 2022 3 Mins


Controversial proposals to ban the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to all EU citizens born after 2010 have been dismissed as ‘morally wrong’.

Spanish public health NGO NoFumadores says it wants to achieve the first European tobacco-free generation during this decade.

Its wishlist has been formally registered by the European Commission, which could examine the proposals with a view to creating new legislation if there is enough support for the plans.

The NoFumadores proposals include:

  • · Promoting the first tobacco-free European generation by 2028 and ending the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to citizens born after 2010
  • · Extending outdoor smoke and vapour free spaces – especially those used by minors – including parks, swimming pools, sports events and restaurant terraces plus
  • · Eliminating tobacco advertising and presence in audio-visual productions and social media, especially addressing covert advertising through influencers and product placement.


The NGO now has six months to obtain at least one million signatures from people across seven or more member states who support the initiative.

However, the World Vapers’ Alliance has called on the EU Commission to withstand anti-vaping pressure from groups who oppose tobacco harm reduction.

WVA Director Michael Landl said:

“We can’t have a one-size fits all approach on very different nicotine products.

“Almost all the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, not from nicotine. “Alternatives such as vaping are substantially less harmful and are proven effective methods to quit smoking. Prohibition will do nothing but cost lives.”

The WVA also hit out at the proposals for an EU sales ban based on the year people were born.

Landl said: “This will not work. In a few years, shops would have to check the IDs of 50-year-olds.

“The rules will either be ignored or they will generate a massive black market and either outcome is detrimental to public health.”

He also warned that such a ban may be illegal under laws guaranteeing ‘equal and fair treatment’ of EU citizens and added that it was also ‘morally wrong’ to deny younger generations access to harm reduction products.

Landl added: “The registration of this initiative shows that the pressure from anti-harm reduction groups on EU institutions is increasing.

“This is not a good sign regarding the upcoming Tobacco Products Directive update.

“Prohibition never worked and will never work. It just creates massive unintended consequences and harms public health. This is the exact opposite of what we all want.”

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Patrick Griffin