According to infobae media reports on January 17, the Spanish Tobacco Organization announced this week that the latest royal decree does not add new health warnings to the packaging of heated cigarette products because such products fall into the category of "non-combustion".
Tobacco organizations pointed out that the new regulations distinguish between "heated cigarette products without combustion" and "heated cigarette products available for smoking", and only the latter are mandated to use the same health warnings as traditional cigarettes. However, Ministry of Health sources said the new regulations effectively treat heated cigarettes the same as traditional tobacco, requiring the addition of health warnings.
This contradictory interpretation sparked controversy within the tobacco industry after the new regulations were announced. Tobacco company Philip Morris said on Tuesday that its heated cigarette products are "burn-free" so the new regulations will not affect their packaging. However, under the changes to the new regulations, only "heated smoking products" are required to carry the same health warnings as cigarettes, while "heated smoking products without combustion" are exempted.
The new Royal Decree aims to incorporate the European Union’s Directive 2014/40/EU into Spanish law and update the 2017 regulations on heated cigarette products. However, the regulations only cover heated cigarette products, excluding other devices such as e-cigarettes, and prohibit the addition of flavors to accessories for heated cigarettes. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines heated cigarettes as tobacco products heated below 400°C without burning, which is different from traditional cigarettes.
The changes to the regulations have sparked controversy over whether heated tobacco products require the same health warning labels as traditional tobacco. This contradictory interpretation could have consequences for the Spanish tobacco market and could also become a high-profile case for similar regulations internationally. The dispute continues to simmer as parties have different interpretations of the regulations.