The EU’s executive branch has proposed a ban on the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products, as part of its plan to fight cancer.
The European Commission said in a statement that its proposal comes in response to a significant increase in the volume of such products sold across the 27-nation bloc.
A recent commission study showed a 10% increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations.
Heated tobacco is an alternative to smoking which uses real tobacco. That is different from e-cigarettes which contain no tobacco and use liquids.
Stella Kyriakides, commissioner for health and food safety, said: “By removing flavoured heated tobacco from the market we are taking yet another step towards realising our vision under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to create a ‘Tobacco Free Generation’ with less than 5% of the population using tobacco by 2040.”
“With nine out of ten lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives.
“Stronger actions to reduce tobacco consumption, stricter enforcement and keeping pace with new developments to address the endless flow of new products entering the market – particularly important to protect younger people – is key for this.
“Prevention will always be better than cure.”
Philip Morris International has the biggest share of the heated tobacco market, according to the University of Bath.
According to EU figures, cancer was the second-leading cause of death in the bloc of 450 million residents. There were about 1.3 million cancer deaths and 3.5 million new cases per year in the EU.
An estimated 40% of EU citizens would face cancer at some point in their lives, with an annual economic impact estimated around €100bn (£87bn).
The proposal now goes to member nations and European Parliament lawmakers for review.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that some vaping devices could be banned too. We have amended to clarify it only relates to heated tobacco products.