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Czechia Bans Flavoured Tobacco Products

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The Czech Republic, along with other European countries, has passed a law prohibiting flavored tobacco products. However, the ban does not extend to electronic cigarettes and nicotine sachets, which disappoints Jindřich Vobořil, the national anti-drug coordinator.

According to the new regulation, flavored alternatives to traditional cigarettes, including heated tobacco, will be removed from the European market starting in October. Mint-flavored cigarettes and flavored tobacco have already been discontinued on the European market. President Petr Pavel signed the amendment to the Public Health Protection Act on Monday, supporting the restriction.

The primary rationale behind the ban is to prevent flavored products from enticing young people to start smoking. This measure is also supported by health statistics, which reveal that nine out of ten cases of lung cancer in Europe are directly linked to smoking.

The popularity of cigarette alternatives, including heated tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and nicotine sachets, has been on the rise in Europe. However, Jindřich Vobořil believes that flavors have a more significant impact on electronic cigarettes and nicotine sachets than on heated tobacco.

The latest data indicates that almost 11 percent of 16-year-olds in the Czech Republic smoke cigarettes, with a decreasing trend toward alternative products. Vobořil emphasizes that a policy of complete abstinence is not effective and expresses his opinion on European regulations.

In the Czech Republic alone, hundreds of thousands of kits for heated tobacco have been sold, and approximately two billion refill cartridges are purchased each year. These cartridges do not burn like traditional cigarettes but instead produce aerosol through a small device powered by a battery.

The ban will affect major tobacco companies in the Czech market, including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, and Japan Tobacco.

Philip Morris, as a market leader, considers flavors in reduced-risk products crucial in motivating smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives. They believe that a complete ban on flavors may hinder the transition of smokers to these alternatives. The company reported 570,000 users of smoke-free alternatives in the Czech Republic in its annual report last year. However, the full impact of the ban on these products remains uncertain.

The prohibition on flavored tobacco is also being implemented amidst discussions about higher taxation on tobacco products as part of the government’s consolidation package. Furthermore, it is possible that additional regulations may be introduced in the future, as electronic cigarettes and nicotine sachets are not currently affected by the ban.

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