The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 25 November 2020

Characterising flavour in cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco

On 20 May 2020, the transitional rules on characterising flavour in cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco introduced by the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40 EU (TPD) expired. This means that you, as a manufacturer, are no longer allowed to provide cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco containing additives that give a characterising flavour.

What is a characterising flavour?

The TPD defines characterising flavour as a clearly noticeable smell or taste other than one of tobacco, resulting from an additive or a combination of additives, including, but not limited to, fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy, menthol or vanilla, which is noticeable before or during the consumption of the tobacco product.

The prohibition of tobacco products with a characterising flavour does not exclude the use of additives which are essential for the manufacture of tobacco products but require reduction of the quantity of these additive to such an extent that those additives do not result in a product with a characterising flavour.

How to determine whether tobacco products have a characterising flavour?

In order to facilitate the provisions in the TPD, a procedure for determining whether tobacco products have a characterising flavour was established within the EU. In line with the TPD, an independent Advisory Panel and a technical group of sensory and chemicals assessors were established.

How are remaining products handled in trade?

Cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with a characterising flavour may not be sold after the 20th of May 2020. If you as a manufacturer intend to   return remaining products for destruction, you must ensure that it is reported correctly. Products that are returned backwards in the supply chain for destruction shall be reported in the traceability system. This means that notice of arrival (return) must be sent and then a notice of deactivation of the relevant unique identifier at the time of destruction.

How is compliance with the prohibition checked?

Protecting young people from the harmful effects of tobacco is a priority issue for the Public Health Agency, which is why enforcement of the prohibition is included in the Supervisory and Market Surveillance Plan for 2020. The Public Health Agency may, as a supervisory authority, decide on the injunctions or prohibitions that are necessary to ensure that manufacturers comply with the law or a regulation issued pursuant to the law. Decisions and injunctions may be associated with a fine.

Marketing of tobacco

There are rules that restrict the marketing of tobacco. The labelling on packaging for tobacco products or on the tobacco product itself must not refer to flavour, scent or additives (does not apply to tobacco for oral use). Information about the rules for tobacco marketing can be obtained from the Swedish Consumer Agency.

The provisions on which this information is based

You always have an obligation to know what applies by law. The information on this website is intended solely to help you, and does not replace what is written in the law. There may also be other laws or regulations from other authorities that you must be aware of. The Public Health Agency continuously updates the content, but we cannot guarantee that the information on the page is always completely up to date.