Product Regulation: The Facts

18 Aug 2008

In many countries, the tobacco industry is increasingly flavouring cigarettes and some other tobacco products.  In some cases, flavoured cigarettes are being marketed by smaller companies separate from the large transnationals.  Some of the major international companies have also sold flavoured cigarettes.

More countries restrict use of flavours

Recognising that flavours increase attractiveness, countries are increasingly responding by adopting legislation to restrict flavours in cigarettes and some other tobacco products: 

Australia: Some states have banned fruit and confectionary (e.g.) flavours in cigarettes. 

Thailand: Through administrative provisions, fruity and confectionary flavoured cigarettes are not permitted on the market.

United States: national legislation prohibits “characterising” flavours in cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and some little cigars; characterising flavours could include flavours where the product tastes like fruit, candy, spice (e.g. cloves) and alcoholic beverages.

Canada: national legislation prohibits flavours and additives in cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps (a rolling paper but made of tobacco).

France: a decree restricts flavours in cigarettes, including related to vanilla. 

European Union: On 27 May 2010, the European Commission stated that controls on “attractive substances in tobacco products” are among the possible changes being analysed for revisions to the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive.  Further, in a 6 July 2010 draft opinion prepared for the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks concluded that “Attractiveness can similarly be improved in a number of ways, such as by adding flavours.”

(Note: All of these jurisdictions have allowed menthol cigarettes to continue to be sold.)

View examples of flavoured cigarette packages from around the world [Adobe Acrobat PDF – 1.83 MB]

Canada’s legislation does not ban burley tobacco

The tobacco industry, and sometimes tobacco grower associations, has claimed that the new Canadian legislation bans burley tobacco.  This is not the case. 

The Canadian legislation bans flavours, not any type of tobacco.  In fact, even with new Canadian legislation in place banning all flavours/additives in cigarettes, US-style cigarettes that include burley in the tobacco blend continue to be sold in Canada. 

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