EU proposes ban on flavoured heated tobacco products
Spike Babaian, owner of the VapeNY.com vapes in New York, on Jan. 2, 2020. (Mary Altaffer / AP)
BRUSSELS -- The European Union's executive branch proposed Wednesday a ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco products, including some vaping items, as part of its plan to fight cancer.
The European Commission said 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, while heated tobacco products exceeded 2.5 % of total sales of tobacco products overall across the region.
The ban would not cover all vaping devices, only those delivering heated tobacco. Many e-cigarettes only contain nicotine.
"With nine out of 10 lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives," said Stella Kyriakides, the commissioner for health and food Safety.
According to EU figures, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the bloc of 450 million residents. There are about 1.3 million cancer deaths and 3.5 million new cases per year in the EU.
An estimated 40% of EU citizens will face cancer at some point in their lives, with an annual economic impact estimated around 100 billion euros (US$120 billion).
The European Commission previously said it wanted to ensure that less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040.
The ban's proposal now goes to member nations and European Parliament lawmakers for review.