Background and Context:
The tobacco industry has increasingly been using flavours to make tobacco products more attractive. Flavours such as chocolate, sugar, licorice, cherry, vanilla, as well as other sweeteners, spices and herbs have been used, including menthol.
Flavours make it easier to smoke, can encourage youth initiation, and can discourage cessation. Flavoured products may also be perceived as less harmful. For water pipe tobacco, the extensive use of flavours has contributed to increased water pipe smoking in many countries.
International guidelines under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recommend that governments “should regulate, by prohibiting or restricting, ingredients that may be used to increase palatability in tobacco products.” The guidelines recognize that “masking tobacco smoke harshness with flavours contributes to promoting and sustaining tobacco use.”
This presentation will provide an updated overview of international developments related to prohibitions/restrictions on flavoured tobacco products.
In recent years, a growing number of countries/jurisdictions have adopted legislation to curb flavours.
In April 2014, despite strong tobacco industry lobbying, the European Union adopted a new Directive that will ban menthol cigarettes in all 28 EU countries. Germany previously banned menthol capsules.
The US has prohibited “characterizing” flavours in cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco (menthol excepted). In 2013, the US FDA has announced that it intends to regulate menthol. New York City and Providence (Rhode Island) have banned almost all characterizing flavours (menthol excepted) in all tobacco products.
Canadian national legislation prohibits all flavours (except menthol) in cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps. In 2013-2014, some Canadian provinces adopted laws applying to other tobacco products.
In Brazil, a national regulation bans flavours (including menthol) in all tobacco products, but this has not yet been implemented.
Outcomes/What was learned:
Governments should ban flavours in all tobacco products, continuing the international trend.