5 December 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Frédérique Ries (ALDE)
Subject: Marketing of a hybrid tobacco product
The world’s leading tobacco company announced 48 hours ago that it would now be marketing its new device for smoking in the United Kingdom, following its initial launch in Japan, Italy and Switzerland. The distinctive feature of this new product, which has been named IQOS, is that it stands on the borderline between traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. The major difference between IQOS and electronic cigarettes is that while the latter use a liquid transformed into vapour, IQOS heats the tobacco and keeps it burning, which is very harmful to health. Does the Commission concur with health experts who claim that marketing a hybrid tobacco product of this kind is a ploy to circumvent legislation in force and, in particular, all the requirements laid down in Article 19 of Directive 2014/40/EU concerning novel tobacco products? What steps will the Commission take to thwart the strategies employed by cigarette manufacturers to sell alternative products that are still just as harmful to people’s health? Will the Commission take this opportunity to alter its negative views on electronic cigarettes, which, as a growing number of cancer experts in the EU are now pointing out, do not contain any tobacco or tar and are helping many people to stop smoking?