Menthol cigarettes to be banned in 2020

2 January 2020, 19:15

Menthol cigarettes will be banned to deter young people from taking up smoking.
Menthol cigarettes will be banned to deter young people from taking up smoking. Picture: Getty

Menthol cigarettes, skinny cigarettes and rolling tobacco will be banned from May 2020 under new EU smoking laws.

The ban on menthol cigarettes aims to deter young people away from smoking cigarettes that are said to have a more "characterising flavour" than tobacco.

Skinny cigarettes and rolling tobacco will also be banned from UK stores when the new EU Tobacco Product Directive comes into force on May 20 this year.

The EU law will still apply to the UK during the Brexit transition period.

Previously menthol flavoured cigarettes were restricted to packs of 20 as part of the move to deter young people from smoking. In 2017 smaller packs of rolling tobacco were also phased out.

Tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, responsible for brands including Marlboro, made an unsuccessful appeal to the European Court of Justice to see the ruling overturned.

Mr Justice Green dismissed the appeal saying: "The regulations were lawful when they were promulgated by Parliament and they are lawful now in the light of the most up-to-date evidence."

Major changes are affecting cigarette laws
Major changes are affecting cigarette laws. Picture: PA

Cancer Research UK says that two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 and that smoking causes around 7 in 10 lung cancer cases in the UK, which is also the most common cause of cancer death.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the change in legislation saying that outlawing menthol tobacco would deter young people from smoking.

Deborah 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."

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