New Spanish regulations on heated tobacco vapes

Spain's new regulations on heated tobacco vapes

Young woman smoking flavoured vape. Credit: Mike Orlov/ Credit:

New regulations have been approved in Spain which will affect heated tobacco vapes, which as the name suggests contain tobacco as well as nicotine.

The recent decision by the Spanish government has approved a royal decree mirroring a European directive that treats heated tobacco products, like the popular IQOS brand, in the same vein as conventional cigarettes.

New rules and warnings

Starting three months from its publication in the BOE (Boletin Oficial del Estado), the royal decree will require heated tobacco packages to carry a warning message: ‘Tobacco smoke contains more than 70 carcinogenic substances.’

Additionally, these packages will feature graphic images illustrating the detrimental health effects of smoking, akin to those seen on traditional cigarette packs.

However, the regulation doesn’t stop there. It also bans tobacco products that contain flavourings, such as filters, papers, capsules, or any other components containing aromas or additives that modify the smell or flavour of tobacco products or intensify the smoke.

In addition, filters, papers, and capsules are not allowed to contain tobacco or nicotine either.

Impact on vaping and doctors’ concerns

It’s important to note that this regulation exclusively targets heated tobacco products that contain actual tobacco, not e-cigarettes, which have gained popularity in recent years.

Though doctors acknowledge that e-cigarettes, which often contain nicotine, can also be harmful to health, they remain unaffected by these new rules.

Doctors in Spain support this initiative, viewing it as a positive step, but some argue that it falls short of addressing the broader issue.

Dr. Francisco Pascual, President of the National Committee for Tobacco Prevention (CNPT), states that it doesn’t cover the majority of vapers who use products with toxicities that encourage transitioning to traditional tobacco.

Minister’s intentions and industry perspective

Spain’s new Minister of Health, Monica Garcia, plans to go further in her efforts to combat smoking-related issues.

She intends to update and tighten the existing tobacco laws, with a focus on including ‘nicotine releasers’ to protect public health, particularly among children.

The tobacco industry, on the other hand, contends that e-cigarettes and vaping products can assist smokers in quitting or reducing their consumption of traditional tobacco.

This disagreement fuels a controversial debate, akin to the Minister of Health’s proposal to ban smoking on outdoor terraces, a move rejected by the hospitality sector.

EU directive and the growth of heated tobacco

The European directive that prompted this regulatory change aimed to eliminate the exceptions that previously benefited heated tobacco products.

Although their sales were initially minimal, there has been a significant increase of over 10 per cent in the past few years across five EU member states.

This growth in sales now surpasses the total sales of traditional tobacco-related products in the EU by 2.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the broader issue of vaping’s impact on public health continues to challenge lawmakers and health experts alike.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.