On July 1, the European Union proposed to stop the use of flavored heated tobacco products in its 27 member states in response to cancer rates.
Its executive body, the European Commission, on Wednesday announced a proposal to ban their sale, in response to a marked increase in sentiment among member states. A report by the commission found that heated tobacco products have accounted for more than 2.5% of total EU sales.
The ban would only cover heated tobacco products — which work by heating processed tobacco leaves to lower levels than conventional cigarettes, allowing smokers to inhale nicotine — and not e-cigarettes that use flavored liquids that contain the nicotine in tobacco.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heated tobacco products are harmful and have not been shown to help smokers quit. Scientists are still learning about their short- and long-term health effects, especially in young adults, the CDC said.
The EU is working towards a tobacco-free generation, with the goal of having less than 5% of the population using tobacco by 2040.
EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement: "Nine out of 10 lung cancers are caused by tobacco, and we want to reduce the appeal of smoking as much as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives.
She added: "Stronger action to reduce tobacco consumption, strengthen enforcement and keep pace with new developments to address the constant influx of new products into the market - which is especially important to protect young people - is what will make it happen. The essential.
According to the proposal, the ban would include components such as filters and capsules, but would not affect conventional cigarettes, cigarettes or water pipes.
In the U.S. this month, the Food and Drug Administration banned Juul Labs from selling its popular e-cigarettes, citing insufficient health and safety data. The Silicon Valley company was granted a delay in enforcing the injunction during an appeal to federal court.
Public health advocates have long warned of a worrisome surge in e-cigarettes, especially among young adults, arguing that the products rely on fun flavors and clever marketing, but have yet to be shown to be a better source of smoking Healthy alternative.
Heated tobacco products were created in the 1980s but were discontinued after they fell out of fashion. They experienced a rebirth in 2014, mostly in Japan, but their popularity has spread to Europe and the United States, and many tobacco companies now stock heated tobacco products, according to a study in the Lancet medical journal last year.
The most popular include Philip Morris International's IQOS and British American Tobacco's glo, but the study found low levels of use in Europe and more common among young people.
It added that more data and independent research on the product was needed.
The World Health Organization has warned against their use, while the European Respiratory Society has raised concerns that while it is tempting to advise smokers to switch to traditional cigarettes, the products are still harmful and addictive.
The nonprofit added that there is no evidence that heated tobacco products are effective smoking cessation aids.
The EU proposal will now be scrutinized by the European Council and Parliament, and if approved, member states will have several months to implement the ban.