Press

Press release 11.10.2022

Federal Institute recommends science-based regulation

(Berlin, 11.10.2022) In the statement on tobacco-free nicotine pouches published on 7 October 2022, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) confirms that this new smoke- and tobacco-free product category can reduce the health risks compared to smoking. To ensure a high level of consumer protection, the BfR recommends regulation of the manufacture, presentation and sale of nicotine pouches.

Press releas 15.09.2022

(Berlin, 16 September 2022) On the occasion of World Cleanup Day on 17 September, BVTE renews its appeal to protect the environment. Every year on this day, numerous voluntary initiatives and private individuals are committed to a clean environment in more than 160 countries around the world.

Almost two years ago, the BVTE launched its "Pay attention to the environment" campaign and has since distributed almost a quarter of a million pocket ashtrays free of charge. Thus, on the beaches of the German Baltic Sea, beach visitors are provided with a handy BVTE ashtray when they rent a beach chair. Thanks to the support of the Landesverband der Strandkorbvermietungen Schleswig-Holstein (Schleswig-Holstein Beach Chair Rental Association), numerous beach chair rental companies participate in the campaign and thus contribute to cleanliness on the beaches. But the reusable ashtrays are also used at festivals, city festivals and many clean-up campaigns throughout Germany, from the Baltic Sea to the Allgäu region.

The common concern and background of the cooperation between all participants is environmental protection and keeping nature clean. Unfortunately, not all smokers dispose of their cigarette waste properly in litter bins and household waste. Waste of any kind, whether chewing gum, cigarette butts or fast food packaging, is a global problem that affects the whole of society. Even if a large part of the population disposes of its waste correctly, too much still ends up in the environment.

Within the framework of its campaign and with the website www.achteaufdieumwelt.de, the BVTE wants to sensitise consumers for a responsible handling of waste in general and to encourage more mindfulness for a clean environment. With ashtrays, different poster motifs, a prevention flyer, videos as well as a lot of information on littering and cigarette waste in particular and interesting facts about the filter on the campaign website, consumers are comprehensively informed. In addition, cigarette-look collection bins will be sponsored for particularly affected hot spots to create even more awareness of the problem of cigarette litter on a selective basis.   

"Our initiative is primarily aimed at our consumers and wants to help prevent thoughtless environmental pollution," says Jan Mücke, Chief Executive Officer of BVTE. Even though there will be no quick fix and individual measures will not solve the problem, it is important to raise awareness for mindful environmental protection, he said. "Only the combination of many instruments will ensure better environmental protection in the medium and long term, and only together can the problem of littering be changed in the long term. Manufacturers, consumers, politicians and municipalities have a joint responsibility here."

In the future, manufacturers of disposable plastic products, which also include cigarette filters, are to assume more responsibility and contribute to cleaning costs for public spaces.  The tobacco industry will bear its share of responsibility and is committed to finding a cost-effective solution to the littering problem. In addition to contributing to the cleaning costs, it is campaigning for greater awareness of the problem among consumers. Cigarette litter should not end up in nature or water - it must be disposed of properly. Only a change in consumer behaviour will lead to a cleaner environment.

Pressenews 15.09.2022

Tobacco industry associations call for nuanced, innovative solutions in this time of crisis

Dortmund, 15 September 2022 – The general strain placed on the economy by Covid, supply chain interruptions, inflation and the energy crisis is also causing difficulties in the markets for tobacco and novel nicotine products, as representatives of the industry associations explained today at the opening of the flagship trade show InterTabac in Dortmund. Now more than ever, it is important to resist the urge to tighten the regulatory environment and instead adopt a nuanced, innovative policy.

The upcoming adjustments to the EU Tobacco Tax and EU Tobacco Products directives will set the course for the entire industry in the coming years. What is called for is a nuanced regulatory framework which does justice to the varied features of individual product categories and which takes into account the amount of strain that companies in Germany are able to bear.

Fine-cut tobacco has a different fiscal resilience than cigarettes, protection of minors is not an issue with classic pipe tobacco, and the market for conventional snuff is ever shrinking. These simple truths should be reflected more strongly again in the actions of decision-makers in Berlin and Brussels. “Especially in the current ongoing crisis management situation, it is of utmost importance not to take a broad-brush approach to regulation,” said Michael von Foerster, Chief Executive of the German Smoking Tobacco Industry Association (VdR): “Because balanced regulation that recognises the differences between various product categories is the only way tobacco can continue to exist as a cultural asset.”

A prohibitive tobacco policy that relies on significant duty hikes, ever-larger warning labels and plain packaging is perceived by consumers as bullying and harassment – yet does not achieve any health policy goals. “The thumbscrews on tobacco regulation are already overtightened. What we need is not new bans, but active promotion of potentially less harmful innovative products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco,” explained Jan Mücke, Chief Executive of the German Association of the Tobacco Industry and New Products (BVTE).

Consumers should have a wide choice of potentially lower-risk alternatives. Scientists at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recently advocated regulation for tobacco-free nicotine pouches that are currently not sold in Germany. “In the case of tobacco-free nicotine pouches, the German government should take into account the science-based approach and promptly introduce regulation along the lines of that for e-cigarettes,” appealed Jan Mücke, Chief Executive of the BVTE.

The German Cigar Industry Association (BdZ) has also called for appropriate consideration of product-specific characteristics in the cigar and cigarillo segment, saying that these are items consumed strictly for pleasure, purely occasionally and mainly by men in higher age groups, and that there are therefore no issues in connection with protection of minors. In addition, it argued, small and medium-sized enterprises in the cigar industry are under particular strain from current developments such as Covid, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, whilst implementation of a mandatory track & trace system would necessitate high levels of capital investment. “Against this backdrop, further regulatory measures in Germany and especially at EU level are not appropriate. In the next few years, policy-makers should urgently refrain from measures that affect the profitability of our companies,” appealed Bodo Mehrlein, Chief Executive of the BdZ.

In the tobacco retail trade, the last few years have also been marked by great uncertainty and existential fears among many businesses. The German Federal Association of Tobacco Retailers (BTWE) had been able to provide valuable help to many retailers via two Covid relief programmes for which the manufacturers had provided funds quite unbureaucratically. Now, retailers are coming under heavy pressure from soaring labour costs, inflation and exploding energy costs. “Looking ahead, if we are to ensure the quality and quantity of tobacco retailing, it must not be deprived of the air it needs to breathe,” said Torsten Löffler, President of the BTWE.

Pressemitteilung vom 19.08.2022

(Berlin, 19 August 2022) A study by scientists from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in the journal Tobacco Control confirms that tobacco-free nicotine pouches can be another potentially risk-reducing alternative for smokers in Germany. Based on a study of nicotine content and other health-relevant ingredients in 46 product samples, the scientists recommend appropriate regulation for nicotine pouches, which should include, among other things, an upper nicotine limit, warnings and information on nicotine content on the packaging, as well as requirements for compliance with the protection of minors.

"The BfR study underlines the necessity of a timely and appropriate regulation of nicotine pouches in Germany," said Jan Mücke, Chief Executive of the Federal Association of the Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE) in Berlin today. At the same time, this confirms the initiative of the BVTE member companies who, in the absence of legal regulations, have already agreed in 2020 to comply with minimum standards for the quality and marketing of tobacco-free nicotine pouches, Mücke continued.

The BVTE product and advertising standards specify, among other things, a nicotine level of no more than 20 mg per pouch, the indication of nicotine content on the packaging, and the use of a health-related warning. In addition, BVTE member companies use only pharmaceutical-grade nicotine in the production process, as well as ingredients of high purity that pose no risk to human health. This is in line with the recommendations of BfR scientists, who had identified substances hazardous to health in individual samples examined.

Tobacco-free nicotine pouches have been wrongly classified as food by some regulatory authorities of the federal states, although they are neither suitable nor intended for ingestion. For this reason, they are currently no longer available in Germany. In Denmark, the Czech Republic, Austria and other EU Member States, these products are available in retail shops. Many consumers order tobacco-free nicotine pouches from foreign online shops, which often do not meet the specifications recommended by the BfR scientists.

"To ensure a high level of consumer protection, policymakers should be guided by the BfR's scientific recommendations and regulate nicotine pouches in tobacco law. The successful regulation of electronic cigarettes can serve as a template here," said the BVTE CEO. Tobacco-free nicotine pouches are a stimulant for adult nicotine and/or tobacco users that can potentially reduce health risks compared to smoking tobacco products, especially because no harmful combustion substances are produced.

The pouches contain mainly starch, plant fibres, flavours as well as nicotine. The pouch is placed in the mouth under the upper lip. The nicotine is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. The product is removed from the mouth after use and disposed of.

The Federal Association of the Tobacco Industry and Novel Products (BVTE) represents and promotes the interests of the entire value chain of the smoking, vaping and oral tobacco and nicotine consumption industry across all products.

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Jan Mücke
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Tel: +49 30 88 66 36 123

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