British American Tobacco and Amazon are under investigation in Italy over what regulators say is potentially misleading advertising for the Glo Hyper X2 tobacco heater, the Italian Competition Authority said on Tuesday.
'It is not made clear, or it is inadequately stated' in the advertising that Glo Hyper X2 is a nicotine-based product, and that it is 'intended for an adult audience', the authority said.
It also said it had seen the tobacco heater being marketed as 'nicotine-free'.
'The omission and/or deceptiveness of this essential information' in advertising could influence consumers' decisions and expose them, 'minors in particular', to the risk of unknowingly damaging their health, it said.
Amazon Services Europe and Amazon Italia Customer Services were included in the investigation because the tobacco heater is sold on the online platform.
Reuters found an offer for Glo Hyper X2 on Amazon Prime Italy presenting the product as 'the cigarette alternative, a smokeless and odour-free experience, nicotine-free'.
An accompanying image had a 'no under 18s' symbol.
A spokesperson for BAT said the company was committed to "responsible marketing", in addition to the requirements set by local applicable laws.
"We are available to cooperate with the Italian Competition Authority to ensure a swift conclusion of these proceedings", the spokesperson added.
Amazon Italia did not respond to a request for comment.
Elsewhere, the European ombudsman has made an initial finding that the European Commission's failure to be fully transparent about its meetings with the tobacco industry constitutes maladministration and is demanding an answer within three months.
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