(CN) — A European advocate general on Wednesday recommended that the EU keep its prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco and tobacco products, including the ban on labels that indicate what flavor they contain.
Planta Tabak, a German family-owned business, challenged an EU law of 2014 and a 2016 ruling that upheld it, claiming the rules do not apply to its products, the lion’s share of which is mentholated roll-your-own tobacco.
The EU Parliament passed the law because it said the flavors mask the harshness of tobacco, and encourage smoking and the diseases it causes.
The 2016 ruling, however, allowed producers whose flavored tobacco products account for 3 percent or more of EU-wide sales volume in a particular category to keep selling them until May 20, 2020. The delay was allowed to give consumers time to change their habits and producers time to adapt to the law, the EU Court of Justice said in a statement Wednesday.
Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe, in Luxembourg, also recommended that the ban on any indication of what the flavor is also be kept, agreeing with the EU Parliament that “the mere indication of the presence of a flavor on the labeling of unit packets, on the outside packaging and on the tobacco products themselves, can, in itself, minimize the harmful effects of that product on human health and, thereby, encourage its use,” according to the Court of Justice’s statement.
The advocate general’s opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice, which will consider the case and rule upon it at a date uncertain.