New laws are coming into effect this year which will see menthol cigarettes being taken from the shelves. Or cabinets, some might call them.
The ban will take place in May 2020 in efforts to dissuade young people from smoking.
Working in retail, seeing many young people tend to go for the menthol flavoured tobacco products makes me think that this might actually work. Or, it might just make them switch brands.
Either way, this is going to have a big effect on the tobacco industry.
It won’t just be the cigarettes taken off the shelves, rolling tobacco, papers, and filters will also be off the market and won’t be available after May this year.
While many people were unaware of the changes, it’s not a new decision. Back in 2016, the European Court of Justice announced that manufacturers will have four years to phase all of the menthol products out. They claim that menthol flavouring is used to increase the attraction of smoking.
This is backed up by the US Food and Drug Administration, whose research suggests that they are more addictive and harder to quit.
Anti-smoking charity, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says: “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.”
Young people are not happy about the decision to ban them and have taken to Twitter to voice their views. So it seems like it might just work.
The ban stems from the new EU Tobacco Product Directive laws, so maybe if Brexit was done by now, we might not have been putting this in place. So, some are wondering if it will change when we do leave. Which I don’t think it will.
The manufacturer of Marlboro, Philip Morris International, made an appeal to stop the law from being introduced but was unsuccessful.
Amanda Sandford, the spokesperson for anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health, told the Liverpool Echo:
“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.”
She added: “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.”
What do you think of the new laws?
Will it change anything?