Menthol Cigarettes Will Be Banned In The UK From May 20, 2020

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 19 May 2020 19:11

Menthol cigarettes will be banned in the UK from May 20 this year.


The new rule comes alongside the banning of the sale of skinny cigarettes, as well as flavoured rolling tobacco.

Stemming from the new EU Tobacco Product Directive laws, the hope is to deter young people from smoking by making cigarettes with a ‘characterising flavour’ harder to access.


In a report produced by the NHS last year, it was found that young people in the UK were most likely to take up smoking, while smoking is most prevalent between ages 25 and 34.


The report also found that almost a quarter of school pupils questioned for the study deemed it OK to try a cigarette.

2016 showed a surge in pupils using e-cigarettes – likely to be because of the array of flavours available to try.

This links back to the idea of some cigarettes having ‘characterising flavour’ being attractive to young people. However, despite menthol cigarettes being banned in the UK, menthol e-liquids will still be available.


It’s argued menthol cigarettes are more appealing to young people because it’s thought they’re better for you compared to normal cigarettes – but this isn’t the case.

Amanda Sandford from ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) told the Mirror:

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.

Sandford said increasing the price of cigarettes and stopping the sale of smaller packets have made smoking less appealing.


Deborah Arnott, also from the ASH charity, agreed with this statement, saying:

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.

This isn’t just an issue in the UK; according to a 2018 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information that looked into smokers across Europe, it was found menthol cigarettes were also more likely to be consumed by younger people in other European countries.

Despite the UK leaving the European Union and this being an EU-led change, it won’t affect the country’s involvement in implementing the new laws.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Anti-smoking, e-cigarettes, EU Law, Menthol Cigarettes, smoking


National Center for Biotechnology and 3 others