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UK Set To Ban Menthol Cigarettes In May

UK Set To Ban Menthol Cigarettes In May

In a little over two months, menthol cigarettes will be unavailable to purchase in the UK.

The change in cigarette laws stems from the new European Union Tobacco Product Directive laws, which aim to outlaw cigarettes and rolling tobacco with a 'characterising flavour' other than tobacco. The change will come into force on 20 May.

The reasoning for the change in legislation is the claim that artificial flavouring in cigarettes and tobacco will encourage more young people to take up smoking, something the government is planning to put an end to with this month's budget.

Fruit-flavoured and sweet cigarettes, have already been banned since 2017.

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The new laws will affect millions of smokers in UK, as the ban will be implemented across all British shops.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The charity Action on Smoking and Health - also known as ASH - said the forthcoming changes will mean the production and sale of any filters, paper, packaging capsules or any other component in cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco containing flavouring will stop.

That includes what are termed as 'technical features' that allow customers to alter the 'smell, taste or smoke intensity' of a cigarette.

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According to ASH spokeswoman Amanda Sandford, increasing the price of cigarettes and reducing the size of packets has already made smoking a less appealing prospect.

The banning of menthol cigarettes - which are less harsh in taste than regular ones - is aimed to make it more difficult for young people to want to take up the habit.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

She said: "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.

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"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."

The ban was announced a few days before Boris Johnson's government delivers the first Budget since they won December's General Election. It will be delivered by newly-appointed chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: uk news, Smoking, politics

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Mischa Pearlmen

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]