HNB status unclear

| August 1, 2017

Two months after a smoking ban came into effect in pubs and restaurants in the Czech Republic, smokers are getting acquainted with heat-not-burn (HNB) products that they might be able to use in public places, according to a Radio Prague story.

The Czech authorities have yet to classify heat-not-burn products, which contain but do not burn tobacco, and that deliver nicotine in a vapor rather than in smoke.

“What is important is that the tobacco does not burn –it is merely heated to 300 degrees Celsius which means that there is no smoke and no ash, and you cannot smell it as much as normal cigarettes,” Philip Morris’ Klára Jirovcová Pospíšilová was quoted as saying.

Radio Prague said that HNBs first appeared on the Czech market in 1988, but that they were not a commercial success.

‘At the time, they were no match for the classic cigarette, but with tough anti-smoking laws in force around Europe, tobacco companies are hoping HNBs will see new opportunities opening up,’ Radio Prague reported.

‘Some countries in Europe, such as Poland, Hungary and Spain, have already issued a tough ban on HNBs, putting them on par with regular cigarettes, but others like the Czech Republic have yet to lay down the rules for these products.’

The Czech Health Ministry says the smoking ban should apply to HNBs, but others claim that under Czech law they would fall into the same category as electronic cigarettes, which are not banned in pubs and restaurants.

Meanwhile, it has not been decided at the EU level how to tax HNB tobacco products and the Czech Finance Ministry has yet to address the issue.

For the time being, HNBs are exempted from consumer tax in the Czech Republic, which gives them an enormous advantage over traditional cigarettes.

An amendment to Czech law is expected to clarify the status of HNBs by 2019.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Markets, Regulation, Tax, Vapor

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