By Mauro Orru

Italy's competition watchdog fined and British American Tobacco, saying the companies had misled consumers when advertising heated-tobacco devices without stressing potential health risks.

The Italian Competition Authority, or AGCM, said Wednesday that the companies advertised BAT's glo hyper X2 and glo hyper air devices by denying, omitting or not highlighting information on nicotine consumption, leading consumers to purchase products that carry health risks and are forbidden to minors.

The regulator fined Amazon 1 million euros ($1.1 million) and BAT EUR6 million, calling the companies' conduct "grossly misleading." The decision comes almost a year after AGCM opened a probe into the companies over their advertising practices.

An Amazon spokesperson said the e-commerce giant plans to appeal the decision as it strongly disagrees with the watchdog's conclusions, calling them incorrect in both fact and law.

"The description of our products includes reference to age restrictions and health-related risks for the purchase of these products," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for BAT's Italian business also said the company plans to appeal the decision. "We are clear that our products are for adults only, and we adhere to the highest standards of conduct to prevent underage use of any nicotine products. We cooperated with the Italian authorities and implemented all suggested changes to our marketing immediately," the spokesperson said.

Write to Mauro Orru at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-14-24 0513ET