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    EXCLUSIVE: French and German governments sign onto EU wide flavour ban

    Alastair Cohen
    Alastair Cohen
    June 19, 2024
    3 min read
    Download Source FilesDownload Source Files

    A new document circulated to EU health ministers and seen by Clearing the Air indicates that the French and German governments have signed onto a new call for a ban on flavours in all nicotine products.

    The new paper, titled “Strengthening efforts to protect children from direct marketing and sale of tobacco and nicotine products, especially on digital platforms” also has the support of Poland, Spain, the Netherlands and seven other EU Member States.

    As revealed by Clearing the Air last week, the paper will be discussed under “any other business” during a meeting of EU Health Ministers known as EPSCO, on Friday.

    New initiatives on nicotine “should include a ban on flavours in nicotine products, a limit on nicotine content in these products and, where necessary, a ban on certain products” according to the paper.

    “We are therefore calling on the new European Commission to act and to put forward proposals as soon as possible to help us protect our children and young people from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine products.

    More broadly, we are calling the Commission to initiate a debate on nicotine-based products, while allowing it to examine the range of possible regulations, which could make it possible for Member States to ban defined product categories as well”.

    The paper also calls for “social media providers take greater responsibility for marketing and sale of tobacco and nicotine products on their platforms, especially aimed at children”.

    The paper sets up a showdown with the new European Parliament on nicotine and tobacco harm reduction, with the elected chamber having twice asserted that vaping can help smokers quit. The new European Parliament will contain more MEPs on the right and centre right of the political spectrum, who are more inclined to support tobacco harm reduction.

    In contrast, no reference to vaping or safer nicotine products helping adults quit is made in the EPSCO paper.

    “Every year, 700,000 lives are needlessly lost in the EU due to smoking-related diseases. By recklessly pushing for a flavour ban on safer nicotine alternatives, they are playing with lives and ignoring the clear will of the people. It's time to stop this madness and listen to science and the citizens they serve,” said Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers Alliance.

    The support of the French Government in particular could cause issues at home. With the first round of the elections just eleven days away, the far-right Rassemblement National could use the issue to coral vapers to work for them. Party leader Marine le Pen is known to have quit smoking using a vape, and this might combine with her euroskeptic views to offer a free attack at both the EU and the French government.

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