On Wednesday, the European Union (EU) proposed a ban on the use of flavored heated tobacco products in Europe due to concerns about their increasing popularity and health effects. “With tobacco causing nine out of ten lung cancers, we want to make smoking as unappealing as possible to protect our citizens’ health and save lives,” said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a statement.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, stated that the ban is part of the EU’s goal of reducing tobacco use in the 27-country bloc to less than 5% of the population by 2040. Vaping products can be found in a wide range of flavors, including bubble gum, chocolate, and cotton candy, which critics claim help attract younger users. Defenders of the devices argue that vaping products can help people quit smoking.
A recent Commission report decried an increase in the sale of vaping devices in the EU, giving it the authority to broaden an existing law on the prohibition of tobacco products enacted in 2014. According to the report, a conservative estimate for 2020 puts the retail sales of vaping products at 3.33 percent of all tobacco products in the EU.
The proposal, which focuses solely on flavored vaping products, will now be reviewed by the EU’s 27 governments as well as the European Parliament before becoming law if no objections are raised.
In the United States, a court on Friday stayed the health regulator’s decision to ban Juul Labs’ vaping products due to safety concerns. Juul was chastised for encouraging youth vaping through the marketing of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes, which it discontinued in 2019.
US regulators announced in January 2020 that the sale of e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco or menthol would be illegal unless specifically authorized by the government.