Why will menthol cigarettes no longer be sold in UK stores in 2020 and when will the ban come into effect?

Menthol cigarettes are one of the products that will be banned in UK stores as new smoking laws come into force this year.

When the ban comes into force in the spring, smokers will no longer be able to buy menthol-flavored cigarettes, tobacco, or thin cigarettes.


The ban resulting from the new EU legislation on the Tobacco Products Directive will come into force on May 20 this year.

The move is part of an attempt to stop young people from smoking, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The Health Charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) explained what is covered by the ban.

A spokesman said: “Nobody is allowed to make or ship a cigarette or hand-rolled tobacco with:

“a) a filter, paper, packaging, capsule or other component containing flavorings;

“(b) filters, paper or capsules containing tobacco or nicotine, or

“(c) a technical characteristic enabling the consumer to change the smell, taste or smoke intensity of the product.”

Menthol cigarettes will be banned from UK stores in 2020
(Image: Getty Images North America)

The ban includes click cigarettes that can change the taste from normal to menthol with a button in the filter.

Philip Morris, a manufacturer of cigarette brands like Marlboro, tried to appeal the change in law to the European Court of Justice, but was unsuccessful.

As part of a long-term plan to phase out flavored cigarettes by May 2020, the law was amended to allow menthol cigarettes to be sold only in packs of 20.

Cigarettes can no longer be seen in shops and are sold in simple packaging

ASH spokeswoman Amanda Sandford said such guidelines would make smoking less attractive.

“Cigarettes are expensive,” she said. “And the price increase for cigarettes is a key factor in making people quit smoking.

“By removing the pack of 10 cigarettes, people have to find the extra money for a pack.

“It will hit poorer and younger smokers more, who tend to buy smaller packs.”

All 10 packs of rolling cigarettes and packets of tobacco were banned in the UK in May 2017.

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She also explained how menthol cigarettes can obscure the harsh smoky taste and make smoking easier, but said they are as harmful as regular cigarettes.

She said: “Of course it is difficult to inhale smoke and for many it is disgusting when they smoke for the first time but people stick to it and then they become addicted.

“There are indications that menthol cigarettes relax the airways and that the taste covers the hardness of the smoke, which is why it is easier for younger people 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.”