Menthol Cigarettes Ban – Only 13 days left.

The European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive – EU TPD (2014/40/EU) makes it an offence for manufacturers to produce menthol cigarettes and for retailers to sell menthol cigarettes from May 2020.

How many smokers choose menthol tobacco?

It is estimated that 24.5% of all smokers use some form of menthol cigarettes yet despite this large number, the public awareness of the ban seems to be low. It is believed that many menthol smokers will not know about the ban until they try to purchase them after May 20th. A think tank group believes that many of these smokers will now turn to smoking unflavoured tobacco.

The European Union Tobacco Products Directive

Currently, at the time of writing, cigarettes have already experienced a dramatic change of regulations regarding how cigarettes are packaged, marketed, and designed. We have seen a year-on-year tax increase to deter the public from purchasing, before the ban on colourful branding and the enforced warning images/signs. The last step was to stop the sale of 10 packs of cigarettes in 2017. This flavour ban is just a next step in reducing the significant harm and deaths caused by smoking each year.

The ban comes from the EU TPD which banned all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco that had a characteristic flavouring such as berries, strawberries etc. and become part of English law through the Tobaco and Related Product Regulations 2016. This new law effectively deferred the menthol ban until 20th of May 2020, making the ban inevitable.

If it’s a EU ban on menthol cigarettes, will the UK be banning menthol cigarettes?

The EU TPD ban and new law that will be in force throughout the European Union will also apply to the UK. This is regardless of our membership status and will stay in force for the foreseeable future.

The EU are not the only ones banning menthol cigarettes. Elsewhere in the world, many countries have already banned or are looking at banning flavoured cigarettes. A ban on flavoured cigarettes was reinstalled in Brazil back in 2018, and the United States are considering implementing the ban as well.

Why are they banning menthol flavoured tobacco?

There is evidence that menthol cigarettes are seen as a ‘gate-way’ for young people to start the habit. It’s also believed that it’s easier to start smoking with menthol flavours as menthol relaxes the airways and masks the harshness of smoke.

This means that those who haven’t smoked before, or those who only smoke menthol flavoured tobacco will have no choice but to smoke regular tobacco, unless they add menthol themselves.

New Cigarette Regulations

“No person may produce or supply a cigarette or hand rolling tobacco with:

  • a filter, paper, package, or other component containing flavourings;
  • a filter, paper or capsule containing tobacco or nicotine; or
  • a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste, or smoke intensity of the product”

This means that pre-rolled cigarettes in packets that have had their filters or paper flavoured will no longer be allowed to be produced or sold.

Similarly, dual, ‘click’, or cigarettes with a small menthol capsule in the cigarette filter will also be banned.

This ban will start on the 20th of May with no ‘sell-through’ period. This means that retailers will not be able to sell their stock after this date regardless of how many they have left. So, from May 20th, you will not be able to get menthol cigarettes from anywhere in the EU.

The ban, however, does not ban manufacturers and retailers from selling individual flavoured filters or papers. So effectively you could purchase all these separately and then roll your own. Saying this, we would encourage each and every smoker to use this opportunity to quit smoking altogether.

This is a big move – why haven’t the tobacco giants contested this?

They have. Phillip Morris, manufacturers of numerous cigarette brands (over 850 billion cigarettes a year) including Marlboro launched an appeal against the change in law. The appeal claimed that the change would do irreparable damage to them. The appeal was declined by the European Court of Justice.

Debroah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Health said:

“Research shows that menthol in cigarettes makes it easier for children to try smoking and to go on to become addicted smokers.

Getting rid of menthol cigarettes will reduce the likelihood of young people taking up smoking, and make it easier for smokers to quit. It’s disgraceful that Imperial Tobacco is trying to undermine the ban by selling cards which infuse menthol into cigarettes.

This breaks both the spirit and letter of the law, which bans the use of technical features allowing the consumer to modify the smell and taste of tobacco products.”

What can menthol smokers do now?

The restrictions, regulations, and laws on smoking is getting stricter by the year. Each year a new rule will be implemented to encourage, or most likely force smokers to quit by removing the products from the market.

Our research shows that it is much easier to quit smoking menthol cigarettes by using Nicotine Replacement Therapy through vaping menthol flavours. During our customer research in 2019 we identified that the majority of our reach effectively quit smoking by taking up either a menthol, or fruit flavoured e-liquid. They found that the menthol was familiar enough to not go back to smoking, or the fruit was fresh and flavoursome enough not to go back to the bad taste of smoking.

  • 97% of all respondents said that flavours helped them quit smoking whilst 76.1% said they wouldn’t have quit at all without them. This has resulted in 98.6% of the respondents quitting smoking.
  • 32% Said that fruit flavours helped them quit smoking for good
  • 25% said that menthol flavours helped them quit for good
  • Data from the ‘Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes’ May 2017 Special Eurobarometer 458 – Wave EB87.1 – TNS opinion & social supports these numbers with 47% of all respondents now vaping a fruit flavour on a monthly basis with tobacco, menthol, and other flavours following behind.

Will smokers quit now they won’t be able to get menthol cigarettes?

During our customer researched we asked our respondents the question. Would the EU flavoured cigarette ban make a difference if they were still smoking?

  • 85.1% think that it wouldn’t have made them quit.
  • 14.9% think the EU ban could have made a difference.

In Great Britain, 6.3% of people in 2018 said they currently used an e-cigarette, which equates to approximately 3.2 million adults in the population. These numbers are growing each year and people are making the safer option of vaping as a nicotine replacement therapy.

Check out our complete flavour range to see if you or a loved one can quit smoking for good with the worlds most successful nicotine replacement therapy!

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