A New Approach Towards Tobacco Legislation: The Case for Harm Reduction in CEE and the EU

The new study on ‘A New Approach Towards Tobacco Legislation: The Case for Harm Reduction in CEE and the EU’ examines the fundamental principles of tobacco policy and their applications. With the political support for the policy of reduced risks in the Czech Republic, as well as discussions on cancer prevention ongoing at the EU level, we analyze whether the objective of the European Commission to achieve a tobacco-free generation by 2040, where less than 5% of people use tobacco, is achievable. What we find is that the current trajectory of the international debate on the topic, including abstinence and prohibitionism, is a route that is not realistic. For this reason, we firmly believe that what is needed at the EU level is the more achievable target of smoke-free generation, and that the way to achieve it is through evidence-based policy which incorporates the harm reduction approach.

Towards the Protection of Consumers in the EU Single Market: The Case of Novel Products


Member of a joint research team Michael Fanta, participated at the AddictEU 2023 Conference last week in Brussels. In the panel on the policy approaches towards reducing dependency on licit drugs, he presented preliminary results of the paper dealing with the regulation of the novel nicotine products in EU Member States. 

Novel nicotine products, notably nicotine pouches, have recently gained popularity, demonstrating success in encouraging some smokers to transition away from traditional products. While nicotine pouches may serve as a valuable harm reduction tool, they also represent a regulatory challenge for policymakers across the EU. Swift action is necessary to mitigate potential adverse effects, especially concerning youth access.

The paper which Anglo-American University in Prague prepares in cooperation with CETA will be published in January 2024.

Key elements for regulation of nicotine pouches

The paper seeks to establish not only overarching guiding principles but also specific components that should shape the regulatory framework for nicotine pouches. Drawing insights from the analysis of regulatory approaches in six diverse EU countries and the expertise of consulted professionals, the authors contend that the primary foundation for crafting regulations for nicotine pouches should be assessing the relative harm associated with these products, versus continuing to smoke. Simultaneously, a pivotal aspect integral to the broader discourse on nicotine pouch regulation is the imperative to prevent youth access.

  • Minimization of the largest risks and youth access: Regardless of the relative risk compared to other products, a new product is always a risk of attracting previous non-smokers, which could include the underage. This situation needs to be addressed with urgency to ensure those aged under 18 do not use these products.
  • Taxation proportional to harm: Taxes imposed on nicotine pouches should be proportionate to their relative harm level versus cigarettes, if they are to be an effective cessation tool.
  • Regulation proportional to harm: Given that nicotine pouches are assumed to be as risky or less risky as other alternative products, it is reasonable to contend that they should therefore be regulated commensurately i.e. the should be regulated as strictly or less strictly as those products. Ideally, any regulation (both MS and EU level) should be based on a four-tier regulatory schedule, with cigarettes being the most restricted, followed by heated tobacco products, then e-cigarettes, and nicotine pouches in the final least restrictive group. 

The full executive summary can be found here.