“The current provisions of Directive 2011/64 / EU have become less effective, as they are no longer sufficient or too narrow to meet the current and future challenges concerning certain products, such as liquids for electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco products and other types of new generation products coming onto the market, ”says the draft conclusions.
“It is therefore urgent and necessary to modernize the EU regulatory framework in order to meet the current and future challenges in the functioning of the internal market by harmonizing the definitions and the tax treatment of new products (such as liquids for electronic cigarettes and tobacco products), including products, whether or not containing nicotine, which replace tobacco, in order to avoid legal uncertainty and regulatory disparities in the EU ”, add the conclusions.
The Council’s conclusions are expected to be approved tomorrow (27 May) at a COREPER II meeting.
EU member states are also asking the EU executive to present a legislative proposal to the Council aimed at “resolving, if necessary, the concerns expressed in these conclusions”.
Although new tobacco products are regulated under the health aspect of the Tobacco Products Directive, there is currently no EU-wide excise framework, as is the case for traditional tobacco products.
The situation in the EU single market is quite fragmented, as some Member States tax e-liquids and heated tobacco products at different rates while others do not tax them at all.
In January 2018, the lack of sufficient data prompted the European Commission not to propose a harmonized approach to the excise tax on electronic cigarettes and other new tobacco products until more information on these products is available. available.
However, in February 2020, the executive released a report suggesting that for new and new products, the lack of harmonization is a concern from the perspective of the internal market.
“On the market side, developments have accelerated with new electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco products and a new generation of modern products entering the market (containing nicotine or cannabis),” said the report.
“The current lack of harmonization of the tax regulatory framework for these products also limits the possibility of monitoring the development of their market and controlling their movements,” he added.
The tobacco industry claims that new tobacco products and electronic cigarettes have significantly reduced health risks compared to traditional smoking and should therefore be treated accordingly.
On the other hand, EU policy makers insist that they are still harmful, albeit perhaps a little less than cigarettes, and all these years have taken a cautious approach.
The next challenge will now be the pressure the tobacco industry should exert on national governments to obtain the lowest possible excise tax.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]