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Surge in disposable e-cigarettes sales in Poland as more international bans introduced

08.02.2024 19:30
They taste like pastries, fruit or flavored drinks, and their sales are going through the roof, just as Western countries begin to introduce bans on selling them to children and youth. These are single-use electronic cigarettes, and the Polish market is awash in them.
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Pixabay LicenseImage by Lindsay Fox from Pixabay

In 2023, Poland saw an alarming surge in the sales of disposable e-cigarettes, with nearly 100 million units sold, predominantly featuring sweet (fruit and dessert) flavors.

This trend, highlighted by the Institute for Forecasting and Economic Analysis (IPAG), indicates a growing concern, especially as these products are increasingly appealing to minors.

The market, dominated by sweet-flavored devices, was valued at a minimum of PLN 2 billion (EUR 460 million) last year.

IPAG's report shows a significant increase in sales from 32.3 million units in 2022 to over 100 million in 2023, a jump of more than 200 percent.

This figure starkly contrasts with the Polish health ministry's Controlled Substances Bureau's estimate of less than 14.5 million devices sold in 2022, suggesting that the actual numbers are much higher than official reports.

The sweet-flavored e-cigarettes, including popular tastes like pineapple, cookie, melon, cheesecake and cola, accounted for 97 percent of sales. Flavors such as mint, menthol and tobacco made up less than 5 percent of the market.

The UK prime minister on January 29 announced a ban on the sale of disposable e-cigarettes, citing their rising popularity among minors.

The British Department of Health and Social Care noted a nine-fold increase in disposable e-cigarette use among 11-17-year-olds in the past two years.

Cancer Research UK found that 316,000 British youths who had never previously been exposed to smoking started using flavored disposable e-cigarettes.

France, Ireland and Germany are also in the process of implementing similar bans. France's National Assembly unanimously passed a law in November to ban such products by mid-2024. The UK government plans to enforce its regulations from 2025.

Notably, nearly all disposable e-cigarettes are produced in China, which manufactures about 95 percent of these devices and controls 90 percent of the market.

In October 2022, China banned the sale of disposable e-cigarettes within its borders due to their popularity among teenagers but continues to allow their production and export.

In the United States, which receives over 60 percent of China's e-cigarette exports, efforts to curb sales have led to the banning and confiscation of illegal shipments. Exporters circumvent these restrictions by disguising shipments as batteries, chargers, flashlights and similar items.

As Western countries introduce sales bans, China is seeking new markets for its disposable e-cigarettes, marking a shift in global trade patterns in this sector.


Source: PAP

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.