Italy probes BAT, Amazon over heated tobacco ad

Italy’s competition authority said Tuesday it was investigating British American Tobacco’s Italian division and online giant Amazon for alleged misleading advertising of a heated tobacco product.

The watchdog said publicity for BAT’s Glo Hyper X2 device omitted information or provided “misleading information about the health risks of the use of the product, and the prohibition on its use by minors”.

Heated tobacco products, or HTPs, use a high heat to decompose tobacco, via a process called pyrolysis, which does not set it on fire or burn it, therefore avoiding creating smoke.

The Glo Hyper X2 was launched last July, pitched as a “reduced-risk product” for adult smokers who want to give up cigarettes.

The Italian watchdog noted that tobacco contains nicotine, “a substance which has the capacity to cause addiction and which, in high concentrations, is harmful to health”.

But it said promotional materials for the Glo Hyper X2 do not properly explain “that its use involves the emission of nicotine — in some messages, it is even explicitly stated that consumption is ‘without nicotine’.”

BAT Italia did not immediately respond to requests for comment., the Italian branch of the US giant, is implicated in the probe as the online seller. –Agence France-Presse