Italy’s competition watchdog the AGCM has imposed €7m ($7.5m) fines on British American Tobacco (BAT) and Amazon for misleading advertising practices.  

BAT faces a €6m penalty, while Amazon has been fined €1m, Reuters has reported. 

The fines relate to insufficient consumer information regarding nicotine content and health risks associated with the Glo Hyper X2 and Glo Hyper Air products. 

The AGCM criticised the companies for advertising these products as “simple electronic devices” and “design objects”.  

The watchdog described this as “seriously misleading conduct” that could influence consumers to buy products that pose health risks and are prohibited for minors. 

Stating its disagreement with the AGCM’s decision, Amazon expressed its intention to appeal against the fine.  

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Reuters quoted a company spokesperson as saying: “The description of our products includes references to age restrictions and health-related risks. We have worked closely with the AGCM throughout this case and we’ve made this information even clearer for customers to address the authority’s concerns.” 

BAT’s Italian business has also announced plans to challenge the ruling.  

BAT was quoted as saying: “We have always provided adequate information that our products are only intended for adult smokers and that we adopt the highest standards of conduct to prevent underage use of any nicotine product. We have co-operated with the Italian authorities and promptly adopted all required changes to our marketing practices.” 

The Glo device sold on Amazon’s platform does not contain nicotine itself but is designed to be used with tobacco sticks that do.  

The AGCM’s investigation, which began in April 2023, accused the companies of failing to communicate that the heaters were exclusively for adult use and marketing them as “nicotine-free.”  

The Spanish High Court recently decided to suspend the imposition of €194m fines on US tech giants Apple and Amazon.