Menthol cigarettes to be made illegal this year - everything you need to know
Menthol cigarettes are set to be banned as new laws come into effect in the new year. Smokers looking to purchase menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco will only have until 20 May 2020 to these products before the ban comes into force.
The ban stems from new EU Tobacco Product Directive laws which outlaws menthol cigarettes. The move is part of an attempt to stop young people smoking by banning cigarettes with a 'characterising flavour' other than tobacco.
The new EU law will see skinny cigarettes also banned from UK stores. Philip Morris, the manufacturer of cigarette brands such as Marlboro, tried to appeal against the law change to the European Court of Justice but it was unsuccessful. The charity ASH- Action on Smoking and Health - told the ECHO back in October that outlawing menthol tobacco will deter young people from smoking.
ASH also spelled out exactly what comes under the ban.A spokeswoman said: "No person may produce or supply a cigarette or hand rolling tobacco with:
"(a) a filter, paper, package, capsule or other component containing flavourings;
"(b) a filter, paper or capsule containing tobacco or nicotine; or
"(c) a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste, or smoke intensity of the product."
The law has already changed so that menthol cigarettes are currently only sold in packs of 20. This was part of a wider long term plan to phase out flavoured cigarettes completely by May 2020. Amanda Sandford, of ASH, told the ECHO how policies such as this are making smoking less appealing.
She said: "Cigarettes are already expensive. "And the price increase of cigarettes is a key factor in making people quit smoking. "So by removing the packet of 10 cigarettes this means people will have to find that extra money for a packet.
"It will hit poorer and younger smokers harder who are more likely to buy smaller packs.
"Paying £3 or £4 for a packet of 10 cigarettes at the moment might not seem so much to people and still leave them with change in their pockets.
However, she said that there was little evidence which suggested that menthol cigarettes make it easier for people to smoke.
She said: "It is naturally hard to inhale smoke and for many the first time they smoke it is repugnant, but people persevere with it and that's when they become addicted.
"There is evidence that menthol cigarettes relax the airways and the flavour masks the harshness of the smoke, therefore younger people find it easier to smoke.
"However, it is an absolute myth that menthol cigarettes are better for you.
"All cigarettes are harmful and menthol cigarettes are just as dangerous as normal cigarettes."