Menthol cigarettes are to be banned in the UK this year, as strict new legislation will come into force.
The ban comes as part of an effort to prevent young people from smoking and reduce the number of people taking up the habit.
Menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco will be withdrawn from shelves later this year, with the ban due to come into force from May 2020.
The ban stems from new EU Tobacco Product Directive laws, which outlaws menthol cigarettes.
It is hoped the move will help deter young people from taking up smoking by banning cigarettes with a ‘characterising flavour’ other than tobacco.
Skinny cigarettes will also be banned from UK stores when the new EU law comes into force.
The move aims to deter more young people from taking up smoking (Photo: Shutterstock)
Kicking the habit
An appeal against the law change was attempted by Philip Morris, the manufacturer of cigarette brands such as Marlboro, but it was rejected by the European Court of Justice (ECHO).
But the move has been praised by anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), who told the ECHO in October that outlawing menthol tobacco will deter more young people from taking up the habit.
A spokeswoman from ASH told the Liverpool Echo the ban will entail the following:
“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."
Phasing out flavoured cigarettes
The law already only permits menthol cigarettes to be sold in packs of 20, thanks to a wider long term plan to phase out flavoured cigarettes entirely by May this year.
The complete ban comes in an effort to reduce the number of smokers even further, and make taking up the habit less appealing.
There is some belief that menthol cigarettes are better for your health, but there is little evidence to support this and they are just as harmful as regular cigarettes.
However, there is evidence that menthol cigarettes can make it easier for people to smoke as they relax the airways and the menthol flavour helps to mask the harshness of the smoke.