The JUUL EU invasion is experiencing a roadblock en route to reaching untapped markets in the Europe.
In turn, EU e-cigarette producers are locating just a few health officials willing to publicly endorse an increase in nicotine levels, matching U.S. policy. EU regulations call for 20 milligrams of nicotine per millimeter of liquid. The U.S. allows 59, according to Reuters.
The major push for EU vaping companies to ally themselves with health officials, who could lobby for more U.S.-like regulations, appears to be gaining little to no momentum.
Grant Winterton, the president of JUUL’s EMEA operations, told Reuters the issue of teen vaping is not receiving the same scrutiny in the EU as it is the states, but it hasn’t helped the union’s cause. Take Wisconsin, for example. The state’s Department of Health Services reported a 154-percent increase among high school students from 2014-18.
The rising popularity of e-cigarettes the past five-plus years offers heavy smokers of traditional cigarettes a potentially less risky alternative to quitting or, at least, cutting back significantly on their nicotine intake.
When tobacco giant Altria Group purchased 35 percent of JUUL last December, investing $12.8 billion, the combined entity immediately finalized plans to increase its EU footprint.
Under Winterton’s stewardship, JUUL products were recently launched in Ireland.
Suggesting vaping products would be more effective to heavy smokers if the nicotine level was increased in the EU, Winterton advised health officials to examine the issue further. A planned review of its Tobacco Products Directive is scheduled to be staged in 2021, according to Reuters.
“We will put forward our position that we think the limit should be increased,” Winterton said. “At the moment I would say there is quite a lot of resistance to that.”
In the early stages of rolling out its product line throughout the EU, Winterton said Great Britain has been a leader in promoting e-cigarettes as a secession tool, while other countries have been “neutral to slightly positive.”
With more lobbyists on the vaping companies’ side, maybe the EU roadblocks will soon begin to open.
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