Czech ban on flavored e-cigarettes goes into effect from Monday, Oct. 23

Flavored heated tobacco products are banned in the Czech Republic as of this week, prompting manufacturers to introduce non-tobacco alternatives.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.10.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 22.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Starting on Monday, the sale of flavored heated tobacco will be banned in the Czech Republic as required by a European directive. EU member states must incorporate the ban into their legal frameworks with effect from October 23, and the directive does not allow for any transitional period for the sale of existing stock.

Various flavors are already prohibited in traditional cigarettes, and this ban will now apply to heated tobacco products. Tobacco companies argue that flavored tobacco products are popular among users, and the U.S. experience with such a ban has shown that some people switch back to regular cigarettes.

In response, some manufacturers are introducing new products that do not contain tobacco, including roiboos tea. They also note that the ban will not take effect simultaneously in all EU countries, allowing customers to purchase flavored heated tobacco abroad.

One of the primary reasons for the ban is the increasing popularity of these products, as some people do not perceive them as harmful. Heated tobacco also appeals to young non-smokers. According to pulmonary physicians, the aerosol from heated tobacco has a very similar composition of toxic substances to cigarette smoke, including proven carcinogens.

Jiří Sochor, spokesperson for JT International, told Czech News Agency that slightly more than half of users prefer flavored tobacco. According to him, the U.S. experience with the ban showed that some people reverted to regular cigarettes. JT International distributes both cigarettes and heated tobacco and electronic cigarettes in the Czech Republic.

Sochor pointed out that the ban would not take effect simultaneously in all neighboring countries. Like the Czech Republic, only Germany has introduced it. Consequently, since Poland will implement the ban later, people are likely to purchase flavored heated tobacco abroad.

Sochor also noted that flavored heated tobacco generates approximately CZK 2.9 billion in consumer taxes each year in the Czech Republic. Together with unflavored tobacco, it amounts to about CZK 5.4 billion, according to estimates.

Adam Palovič, marketing manager for tobacco company Imperial Brands, stated that approximately one-fifth of adult smokers exclusively or in combination use heated tobacco devices.

Companies are responding to the ban by introducing new products. Imperial Brands is launching a new electronic cigarette in the Czech market. Similarly, British American Tobacco is introducing a heated nicotine product that does not contain tobacco.

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"It is made from rooibos and provides adults with a wide range of intense flavors, which are often the reason why they opt for alternatives," said regional director of the company for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Štěpán Michlíček.

The company has also indicated that certain tobacco firms have opposed the restriction imposed by the European Commission and that the ban will be addressed by the EU Court of Justice due to the complaints from Irish companies.

Philip Morris has also introduced 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 during the first half of the year.

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