Despite 'ban', Menthol cigarettes continue to be consumed

Published: May. 4, 2024

Despite the ban on menthol cigarettes instituted in 2020, startling new data reveals that one in seven UK smokers continue to infringe upon this prohibition. As the research unfolds, it challenges the notion that the ban has effectively curtailed the consumption of menthol cigarettes. But how is it possible for these figures to persist even after the flavour was outlawed? The answer lies within the cunning tactics deployed by tobacco firms.

According to industry experts, these companies have exploited legal loopholes to keep menthol-flavoured products within reach of consumers. A popular workaround that has surfaced involves the sale of menthol-flavoured drops. These are perfectly legal and are intended to be added to regular cigarettes, thus circumventing the prohibition.

The ban on flavoured cigarettes was enforced in 2020 across both the UK and the EU. These stringent regulations were a measure taken with the aim of addressing and limiting youth smoking. Menthol cigarettes, notably, appealed to a younger demographic due to their milder, less abrasive taste, making them easier to inhale and thereby fostering addiction.

A recent study originating from University College London endeavored to analyze the true impact of the 2020 ban. The researchers leveraged data from a survey encompassing 67,000 adult UK smokers. The results were disheartening; there was no substantial decrease in the usage of menthol-flavoured cigarettes post-ban.

This situation has remained largely unchanged even till May 2023. Among the adult smoker population, 14 percent continued to favor menthol cigarettes regardless of their illicit status. These findings emphasize the ban’s inability to fully exterminate the consumption of menthol cigarettes, raising critical questions on its effectiveness and enforcement.


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