According to a report from the Czech news website Expats on October 22nd, the Czech Republic is set to ban various flavored heated tobacco products in compliance with the European Tobacco Directive.

A ban on the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products came into force in Czechia. bringing it in line with an EU directive issued last year. I discussed the move with Dr Eva Králíková, who heads a stop smoking clinic at Prague’s General Faculty Hospital.

“We should maybe at first explain what the difference is between heated tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, it’s only liquid containing nicotine, and the health risk is very low.

Eva Králíková|Photo: Barbora Linková, Czech Radio

“But what I can say from the experiences of our patients, those who switched from cigarettes to heated tobacco say two things: first, that they increased the consumption. And secondly, that it is harder for them to quit heated tobacco then cigarettes.”

Some experts argue that alternative nicotine products, including heated flavoured tobacco, are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but I guess you don’t agree with that?

EU Directive Implementation:

The European Union member states were mandated to integrate this ban into their legal framework starting from October 23rd, without a transition period for existing stock. Currently, various flavors of traditional cigarettes have been banned, and this prohibition extends to heated tobacco products. Tobacco companies argue that flavored tobacco is highly popular among users, and experiences in the United States post-ban indicate that some individuals might revert to traditional cigarettes.

Manufacturer Responses:

In response, some manufacturers are introducing tobacco-free products, including Louis B. They also note that the ban will not be simultaneously implemented across all European countries, allowing consumers to purchase flavored heated tobacco from abroad.

Reasons for the Ban:

The primary reason for prohibiting the sale of these products is their increasing popularity, with some individuals not considering them as harmful substances. Heated tobacco is attracting a younger non-smoking demographic. As per pulmonary physicians, the toxic components in the aerosol produced by heated tobacco closely resemble those found in conventional tobacco smoke, including confirmed carcinogens.

Market Insights and Reactions:

Jiří Sochor, a spokesperson for Japan Tobacco International (JTI), informed the Czech News Agency that over half of the users prefer flavored tobacco. Experiences from the U.S. ban indicate that some people might switch back to traditional cigarettes. JTI sells cigarettes, heated tobacco, and e-cigarettes in the Czech Republic.

Regional Variations and Financial Impact:

Sochor highlighted that this ban won’t come into effect simultaneously in all neighboring countries. Only Germany has implemented it, similar to the Czech Republic. Hence, with Poland set to follow suit later, individuals might opt to purchase flavored heated tobacco abroad. Moreover, the sale of flavored heated tobacco generates approximately 2.9 billion Czech crowns in consumption taxes annually for the Czech Republic.

Industry Response and New Product Launches:

In response to the ban, major companies are launching new products. Imperial Brands is introducing a new e-cigarette in the Czech market. Similarly, British American Tobacco (BAT) has introduced nicotine-heating products that do not contain tobacco. BAT expressed that some tobacco companies oppose the imposed restrictions by the European Commission, and the existing ban will be subject to review by the European Court to address complaints from Irish companies.

PMI Initiatives:

PMI has also rolled out new tobacco-free flavors such as blueberry. In September, the company announced that there were approximately 680,000 users of its heated tobacco devices in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the first half of this year.

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