All tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are directly attributable to acute or long-term potential health problems both for tobacco users and those around them.
Tobacco product turnover, as well as the conditions for manufacture, presentation and marketing of such products in market is regulated by the of European Parliament and Council Directive 2001/37/EC of 5 June 2001 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. The directive regulates:
the maximum tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide content in cigarettes
conditions on the mandatory warnings on the packaging of tobacco products, the design of these warnings and other requirements
In addition, since 17 November 2011 the only type of cigarettes that can be distributed in the European Union are the ones that self-extinguish when not actively puffed.
Taking into account the changes that have occurred in the market over the last decade, public health guidelines, and following the scientific and technical progress, the European Commission has prepared a proposal for a revision of the Directive and has sent it to the Council and the European Parliament on 19 December 2012 - institutions responsible for legislation in the field of tobacco product distribution in the EU.