The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ratified the European directive on tobacco products, and more specifically the prohibition of menthol cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Poland, with the support of Romania, had contested the prohibition on menthol cigarettes before the Court. The Court rejected the country’s application confirming the validity of the provisions contained within the directive.
The Court remarked that “menthol, through its pleasant smell, aims to make tobacco products more attractive to consumers and that reducing the attractiveness of these products may contribute to reducing of the prevalence of nicotine addition. This applies as much in terms of dependence amongst new consumers as regular consumers,” thus making prohibition “appropriate to ensure increased levels of human health protection.”
Moreover, the ECJ considered that the specific e-cigarette regime, which is less strict than applies to tobacco products, does not infringe the principal of equal treatment as e-cigarettes “assume different properties from those of tobacco products.”
Furthermore, anticipating harmonized rules in this field indeed favours the free movement of these goods, stresses the Court. The directive also respects both the precautionary principle, and the system of notification to national authorities of all products placed upon the market is thus, in this regard, not, disproportionate.