Skip to main content
Public Health

The Tobacco Products Directive: 2021 Application Report

Five years after the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU became applicable, the report on the application of the Directive examines the progress achieved so far: the Directive contributed to the reduction of tobacco consumption and generated positive outcomes for public health.

The report also describes the Directive’s strengths and weaknesses as well as indicates elements requiring adaptation.

The Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products aims at facilitating smooth functioning of the internal market, protecting people’s health – particularly of the youth – and meeting the EU obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

For most of its provisions, the Directive became applicable in May 2016. It introduced larger combined health warnings, an EU-wide track and trace system, a mandatory database of ingredients, regulated electronic cigarettes, and banned characterising flavours from cigarettes and roll your own tobacco. It was upheld in the courts and its provisions form an important part of a comprehensive EU tobacco control policy.

Tobacco control efforts

Tobacco consumption is the single largest avoidable health risk, with 27% of all cancers attributed to it. This is why the 2021 Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan places tobacco control at the core of disease prevention efforts: the ambition is to help create a ‘tobacco-free generation’ where less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040, compared to around 25% today. To meet this ambition, the tobacco control efforts must be stepped up, including further strengthening of the rules on tobacco and related products.

Other relevant documents

The report on the application of Directive 2014/40/EU is supported among others by a study on “Consumer preference and perception of specific categories of tobacco and related products” (perception study) and a support study to the report on the application of this Directive. It also draws on SCHEER’s Opinion on electronic cigarettes, the most recent Eurobarometer survey (on attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes) as well as on the support for the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive throughout the EU countries from the Joint Action on Tobacco Control.


The application report has been prepared in line with Article 28 of Directive 2014/40/EU calling upon the Commission to submit a report on the application of the Directive to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions within 5 years from 20 May 2016.

In line with this Article, the document indicates those parts of the Directive that should be reviewed or adapted taking into account new scientific and technical developments as well as internationally agreed rules and standards. In this respect, the Commission was asked to pay special attention to:

  1. the experience gained with respect to the design of package surfaces not governed by this Directive taking into account national, international, legal, economic and scientific developments
  2. market developments concerning novel tobacco products considering, inter alia, notifications received under Article 19
  3. market developments which constitute a substantial change of circumstances
  4. the feasibility, benefits and possible impact of a European system for the regulation of the ingredients used in tobacco products, including the establishment, at Union level, of a list of ingredients that may be used or present in, or added to tobacco products, taking into account, inter alia, the information collected in accordance with Articles 5 and 6
  5. market developments concerning cigarettes with a diameter of less than 7,5 mm, and consumer perception of their harmfulness as well as the misleading character of such cigarettes
  6. the feasibility, benefits and possible impact of a Union database containing information on ingredients and emissions from tobacco products collected in accordance with Articles 5 and 6
  7. market developments concerning electronic cigarettes and refill containers considering, amongst others, information collected in accordance with Article 20, including on the initiation of consumption such products by young people and non-smokers and the impact of such products on cessation efforts as well as measures taken by Member States regarding flavours
  8. market developments and consumer preferences as regards waterpipe tobacco, with a particular focus on its flavours

According to article 28(3) of the Tobacco Products Directive, the report shall be followed-up by proposals for amending this Directive, which the Commission deems necessary to adapt.