Will The EU Promote or Hinder the Market-Based Demise of Cigarettes

There are many truly scary ways to regulate combustible tobacco and smokeless nicotine products(heated tabac supplier), and achieving one of those less scary ways is a win. Unlike the United States, the EU has not imposed a huge regulatory burden that makes it impossible for all but the largest companies to survive, but rather has ruthlessly favored Big tobacco over smaller competitors. Unlike Australia, the European Union has withdrawn from regulating e-cigarettes(hnb heatsticks manufacturer) as medicines. Once a leader in tobacco control, Australia is now Mired in a chaotic fiasco of slow decline in smoking and a massive black market. Despite the World Health Organization's campaign for a ban, the European Union has resisted most forms of prohibition, though snuff is a puzzling exception. What is clear is that a ban would not cause banned products to disappear, it would simply drive law-abiding suppliers away, leaving the rest of the market to criminals and unregulated informal traders.

In contrast, the European Union has developed a range of measures to address the risks of tobacco and nicotine that are not particularly disproportionate or discriminatory, are reasonable precautions, and are not particularly prone to harmful unintended consequences. As a result, the EU has a wide range of legal safer alternatives to smoking and is therefore a regulatory basis for Member States wishing to pursue the reduction of tobacco harm. By international standards, this is a modest success.

The European Parliament elections will be held in June 2024, with a new legislative programme to follow a few months later, with the most intensive legislative activity expected in 2025. So the question is what to do next? I am sorry to report that Brussel's collective minds of bureaucrats, politicians and interest groups are on the verge of turning a modest success into a spectacular failure, putting millions of lives at risk.


The EU's public health objectives focus on reducing disease

There is a new impetus behind EU tobacco policy. In 2021, the European Union launched a plan to tackle cancer, the European Plan to Beat Cancer. In 2022, WHO launched a separate programme to tackle non-communicable diseases other than cancer, called "Health Together". Both place considerable emphasis on tobacco, emphasizing the goal of a "tobacco-free generation" to reduce tobacco use among adults from around 25 percent today to less than 5 percent by 2040.


Regulatory tool

To achieve this agenda, the EU has three main tools to regulate tobacco and related products, such as e-cigarettes. They exist in the form of "directives" or legally binding agreements that Member States will implement in their domestic legislation in line with the terms of the directive.

The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD: 2014/40/EU) governs standards for tobacco products products, packaging, warnings and certain aspects of the commerce of tobacco products. The directive also provides for the regulation of e-cigarettes, including the advertising and promotion of these safer alternatives. Following an assessment of the tobacco control legislative framework, TPD is under active review and the European Commission is expected to present a new proposal later in 2024.

The Tobacco Advertising Directive (TAD: 2003/33/EC) bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship with potential cross-border impact. Member states control fixed advertising such as billboards. The TAD may be revised in conjunction with the TPD to develop a uniform approach to tobacco and its related products, such as e-cigarettes.

The Tobacco Consumption Directive (TED: 2011/64/EU) provides a framework for harmonizing the design of tobacco taxes. Member States usually set the level of excise duty, but are bound by the minimum level set out in the directive. Since 2016, TED has undergone a lengthy review process. The tax issue is sensitive for member states, each of which has a veto over any proposal. On December 7, 2022, the new proposal was controversially dropped after some Eastern European countries noted that it would lead to a significant increase in their tobacco prices.

The EU, as a party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, will also develop a common position to be included in the negotiations at the tenth Meeting of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Panama in November. By endorsing WHO's position, the EU will build momentum for further regulation consistent with WHO's approach.

The EU also has a range of milder instruments, such as the 2009 non-binding Council Recommendation on Smoke-free Environments (2009/C 296/02). In July 2022, the European Commission called for evidence to come up with an updated proposal applicable to heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes.