Next Question 7. Do additives make tobacco more attractive?

Additives can make smoke look more attractive for other people as well as the smoker and reduce lingering odours, as well as mask the smell of smoke. They can make it easier to start smoking by making the smoke, cooler, sweeter, and less harsh to the throat. Harshness can be altered by changing the ratio of nicotine to tar, and also by adding flavourings which give the impression a particular cigarette brand is smooth .

It is very difficult to identify the role of individual substances in enhancing attractiveness. There is most information about menthol, used in cigarette brands which are popular in the USA. Menthol reduces harshness and may encourage deeper inhalation of smoke. In the USA a much higher proportion of African Americans than European Americans smoke mentholated cigarettes.

The available data do not allow drawing any conclusion on the overall effect of additives on the use of tobacco products. The prevalence of smoking (i.e. the number of smokers) is stable or in decline in most EU Member States. 2006 figures indicate that 27.5 per cent of adults smoked in the EU 33.2 per cent of men and 21.8 per cent of women roughly the same levels as in 2002. Smoking is more common, on average in Eastern European Member States.

Flavourings may be used to target young people, and there is evidence that younger smokers are more likely to use flavoured cigarettes. However, UK data suggest that brand preferences of child and adult smokers are quite similar. There are also indications in the UK market, which is dominated by domestic brands, that cigarettes marketed as additive free may become popular.

European commission – olaf – 19th task group cigarettes conference: international efforts to fight cigarette smuggling

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10 October 2014
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The annual Task Group Cigarettes Conference took place in Prague on 6 9 October. It was organised by the European Anti Fraud Office (“OLAF”) in close cooperation with Czech Customs. The event brought together over 80 experts from all 28 EU Member States as well as from third countries such as Albania, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Turkey and Ukraine.

The Conference, opened by the Deputy Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Ms Hornochova, provided an excellent opportunity for practitioners to share views about the fight against illegal cigarette smuggling in practice. Discussions focused on new smuggling techniques and general trends, as well as on the possible coordinated solutions for tackling this criminal activity.

Cigarette smuggling causes huge yearly losses to Member States and the EU in evaded customs duties and taxes. Smuggled tobacco respects no rules, and poses great risks to both consumers and businesses. It undermines anti smoking and public health campaigns, and violates the strict rules that the EU and Member States have on manufacturing, distribution and sale.

Examples of practical cooperation between OLAF and Member States authorities were presented, such as for example

  • OLAF s assistance to the Spanish Customs Investigation Service in an operation in mid September which led to the dismantling of an illegal factory, the seizure of 36 tonnes of tobacco and cigarettes and the arrest of 18 persons.
  • OLAF also provided information concerning container movements between the Netherlands and Portugal which led to the seizure of about 7 million cigarettes and the arrest of 3 persons in Portugal in late September.

Such examples show the excellent results that can be achieved through coordinated, Europe wide action targetting smuggling. Further examples were recently also provided at the debriefing of Operation REPLICA.

Representatives of several international oraganisations such as EUBAM, EUROPOL, INTERPOL, and Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices of the World Customs Organization and the WCO attended the Conference as observers.

The mission of the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) is threefold it protects the financial interests of the European Union by investigating fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities it detects and investigates serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties by members and staff of the EU institutions and bodies that could result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings and it supports the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission, in the development and implementation of anti fraud legislation and policies.

For further details
European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF)
Phone 32 2 295 73 36
E mail olaf media