Everything you need to know about the menthol cigarettes ban

May 20, 2020
Medically reviewed by Dr. Maroof Ahmed, MD on 
May 20, 2020

A new legislation comes into force today, 20th May 2020, which makes it an offence to produce and sell menthol-flavoured cigarettes and other products in the UK. The Revised Tobacco Products Directive, aims to tighten the regulations on the types of tobacco and other cigarette products within the European Union. The UK is currently in the transition period of leaving the European Single Market, but this regulation will remain in place after we are no longer bound by the political and economic union.

Why was the ban introduced?

The changes were triggered by research conducted by the UK Government which shows that menthol flavoured tobacco products are significantly more popular among new smokers and younger people.

The concern is that these products promote a lighter smoking experience by making inhalation easier through masking the effects of tobacco smoke and may be perceived as healthier alternatives.

For most people the experience of smoking for the first time is revolting and only people who persevere to overcome the body’s natural reaction become addicted to smoking. Menthol cigarettes not only mask the harshness of the smoke but new evidence suggests that they may increase nicotine addiction, relax the airways and therefore make it easier to become a smoker.

It is hoped that the ban will encourage young people using these products to quit smoking and will reduce the number of people taking up the habit.

What else is affected by the ban?

The new legislation tackles the problem further by preventing vendors from selling products with a filter, paper, package, capsule or other component containing flavourings or a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste, or smoke intensity of the product. Skinny cigarettes, click-dual cigarettes and rolling tobacco are also included in the ban and will be withdrawn from the shelves today.

Kicking your habit

If you have been affected by the new rules, this could be the perfect time to start leading a healthier lifestyle and quit smoking for good. At Quit Genius we have helped over 60k people to become smoke free to date and we know that no two journeys are the same. If you are considering making this lifestyle change, we share our top 3 tips for quitting smoking below.

1. Set out your quit plan

Quitting an addiction can be difficult if you don’t have a plan of action to follow. It can help to think of becoming smoke free as a goal you’d like to achieve. First understand why you are quitting and what benefits you will gain from quitting. Then set a quit date so you have something to plan and work towards. We recommend a date between 1-2 weeks away. Finally, decide whether you will benefit from nicotine replacement therapy to combat the nicotine withdrawal effects and ensure you have a hold of the chosen product before your quit date. You should talk to your doctor or local pharmacist before using one of these products.

2. Understand your journey

Smoking is as much a psychological addiction as it is a physical one and it can be difficult to quit if you only address one aspect of your addiction.

A key factor in quitting is gaining awareness of why you are smoking, when you are smoking, who you are smoking with and where you are smoking. Understanding your triggers allows you to implement changes that will help you manage them before they can take a hold on you.

Remember to enjoy your journey. Acknowledging and sharing major milestones with friends and family can be very rewarding. Quitting smoking is a decision that will change your life in very positive ways and that is worth celebrating!

3. Don’t beat yourself up

It’s natural to experience challenges along your journey to becoming an ex-smoker. At times stress and other triggers may cause you to have a moment of weakness and smoke after your quit date. It is very important to give yourself a break in those moments; remember that not all is lost and you can carry on where you left off.


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