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Public Health

Independent Advisory Panel on characterising flavours in tobacco products


Opening date
Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

Target audience

Public health community

Why we are consulting

Independent Advisory Panel on characterising flavours in tobacco products

The call for expression of interest is closed.

From 15 July to 20 October 2016, the European Commission held a call for experts in sensory analysis, chemical analysis and statistics to join a newly established independent advisory panel assisting Member States and the Commission in determining whether tobacco products have a characterising flavour.

Members of the panel were appointed by the Commission on the basis of their expertise in one or several areas, as described in Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/786 and in the official text for this call for applications.

Members are appointed for a renewable term of five years.

More information:

The Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) prohibits the placing on the market of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with a characterising flavour. In order to facilitate the implementation of this provision, set out in Article 7 of the Directive, the Commission has adopted two implementing acts establishing the rules and mechanism for determining products with characterising flavours:

In developing the implementing legislation, the Commission has been supported by an external contractor, the Health Effects Tobacco Composition (HETOC) consortium in the context of a specific service contract. The task of HETOC was to assess existing approaches potentially suitable to determine characterising flavours in tobacco products and to develop and test a methodology for the identification of such flavours. The final report of the project can be found here.


In line with the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) and Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/786, an Independent Advisory Panel has been established assisting Member States and the Commission in determining whether or not a tobacco product has a characterising flavour. This Panel may request input from a technical group of sensory and chemical assessors established via a public procurement procedure.

More information:

The Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) entered into force on 19 May 2014 and became applicable in EU countries on 20 May 2016. The Directive lays down rules governing the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products. These include cigarettes, roll your own tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and herbal products for smoking.

In particular, the Directive:

  • prohibits cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours
  • requires tobacco industry to report to EU countries on the ingredients used in tobacco products
  • requires health warnings on tobacco and related products: combined health warnings (picture, text and information on how to stop) must cover 65% of the front and back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packages
  • sets minimum dimensions for warnings and prohibits small packages for certain tobacco products
  • bans promotional and misleading elements on tobacco products, e-cigarettes and herbal products for smoking
  • introduces EU-wide tracking and tracing to combat the illicit trade of tobacco products
  • allows EU countries to prohibit internet sales of tobacco and related products
  • sets out safety, quality and notification requirements for electronic cigarettes
  • obliges manufacturers and importers to notify EU countries about novel tobacco products before placing them on the EU market



Ingredients and emissions

Labelling and packaging

Electronic cigarettes

Tackling illicit trade

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