EU′s top court upholds ban on flavored cigarettes | News | DW | 30.01.2019
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EU's top court upholds ban on flavored cigarettes

German company Planta Tabak had applied for an exemption from the 2014 EU directive on flavored tobacco products. But the EU's top court has ruled against the Berlin-based company and others making similar products.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that the 2014 ban on the sale of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco containing flavorings was valid.

The EU had given member states two years to implement the rule, and it took effect in Germany in 2016.

Planta Tabak, a Berlin-based tobacco business founded in 1956, challenged both the EU law of 2014 and the 2016 ECJ ruling that upheld it. The company claimed the rules did not apply to its flavored products, most of which were made of mentholated roll-your-own tobacco.

In the initial ECJ ruling, manufacturers of flavored tobacco with a market share of 3 percent or more were given until 2020, so they would have time to sell off their stock.

The European Court of Justice in Luxemburg

The European Court of Justice in Luxemburg

In Wednesday's ruling, the ECJ upheld the staged ban to allow consumers time to switch to other products. 

Hiding the smell of tobacco

The ECJ said flavored tobacco products were "particularly attractive to young people and facilitate the initiation of tobacco consumption."

While the court admitted the ban was a restriction on the EU's free movement of goods, "it was justified by the balancing of its economic consequences against the requirement to ensure a high level of protection of human health."

No labeling

The court also upheld a ban on any indication of flavor on the product labels.

Watch video 28:34

Poisoning the environment

Last year, one of the court's advocate generals, Henrik Saugmandsgaard Oe, said indicating any flavor could "minimize the harmful effects" of tobacco products on human health and "thereby encourage its use."

Read more: France shed 1 million daily smokers in 2017: Health Ministry

The ECJ is the supreme court of the European Union on questions related to EU law. Advocate generals assist ECJ judges by giving them impartial legal opinions.

The case now reverts to Berlin's administrative court, where Planta Tabak filed its first challenge.

jm/amp (dpa, epd)

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