E-cigarettes with aromas, such as menthol, should only be banned in Portugal in 2024, even though the European directive and the Government's proposed law, which transposes it into national legislation, indicate that the sale of this type of cigarette will be prohibited from the 23rd of October this year.

The Executive's proposal, approved by the Council of Ministers in May this year, was approved in general by Parliament on the 29th of September, with only the votes of the PS, with socialist deputies Isabel Moreira and Alexandra Leitão voting against and 14 other parliamentarians from the government party abstained. But it still has to go to the final global vote.

The diploma that amends the 2007 Tobacco Law, equating heated tobacco with conventional tobacco, also prevents the sale of any type of cigarettes in places where it is no longer possible to smoke, such as gas stations, cafes or restaurants. An exception will be made for convenience grocery stores, which will be able to continue selling tobacco.

As the legislative process is still ongoing in the Assembly of the Republic, it is likely that the ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco will only begin to take practical effect in 2024, even though the diploma indicates a deadline of October 23, 2023.

“The new rules will take effect on the 23rd of October, 2023 for any distinctive flavor, including menthol flavor, throughout the European Union, in accordance with Commission delegated directive (EU) 2022/2100 of June 29, 2022”, explained the Ministry of Health, when approving the proposed law, in May this year.

Furthermore, and according to current law, conventional cigarettes with flavors can no longer be sold in Portugal. On the 20th of May, 2020, the sale of conventional menthol tobacco became prohibited in our country due to the transposition of a community directive.

The Executive's proposal also has a transitional rule, which allows the disposal of tobacco heated with flavors that have been introduced onto the market before the new law takes effect, that is, before the 23rd of October of this year.

The equivalence of conventional tobacco to heated tobacco will also be reflected in the packaging, which “will now display combined health warnings, with text and photography”, according to a question-and-answer document published on the Government website.