The Menthol Cigarette Ban UK 2020: Where Do Menthol Smokers Go From Here?

May 23, 2023

The Menthol Cigarette Ban UK 2020: Where Do Menthol Smokers Go From Here?

In case you missed the news, menthol cigarettes in the UK will be no more when the date changes to 20 May, 2020. The impending ban will affect every tobacco product deemed to have a ‘characterising flavour’. In addition to cigarettes, this encompasses ‘skinny’ cigs as well as rolling tobacco. With so little coverage surrounding it, especially as the UK joins the world in directing its attention to the global pandemic that is the Covid-19, the menthol ban is likely to catch many people unawares come May 2020.

Why are Menthol Cigarettes being Banned in the UK?

The 2020 ban that will affect menthol cigarettes, skinny cigs, and all flavoured tobacco products stems from the EU smoking regulations that were passed in 2016 – what you most likely know as the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) rules. The menthol ban was integrated into English law through the UK’s version of the TPD, the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations (TRPR) . The menthol ban is one of its many provisions and prohibits the use of cigarettes with a ‘characterising flavour’. Anything with a taste or smell that is not tobacco is considered a characterising flavour. It is said to be the result of one or more additives that include, among others, menthol (and mint), and its flavour is clearly perceptible before or during consumption. The directive has been christened the ‘menthol ban’ because menthol is the most common flavour in regular cigarettes. But it will restrict the sale of any type of cigarette with the said characterising flavour. The whole basis of the TRPR regulations is help curb the uptake of smoking by the youth, and dissuade people in general from taking up smoking.

Will Menthol Cigarettes be Banned Everywhere?

The menthol ban will not affect smokers in the UK only. It will sweep across the European Union whose countries are party to the famous TPD laws which have revolutionised vaping as we once knew it. The fact that the UK is leaving the EU does not render the ban null. While this directive does not extend to other places across the world, many nations have their own bans being considered and coming into effect. For instance, Brazil had already issued a ban on menthol and other flavoured cigarettes, which was lifted being reinstated in 2018. The United States, for its part, is exploring a raft of proposals to ban not just menthol cigarettes, but most e-liquid flavours as well.

Does it affect E-Cigarettes?

The new legislation will NOT affect electronic cigarettes or oral nicotine pouches. But it will affect anything with:

  • A paper, capsule, or filter containing tobacco or nicotine
  • A paper, capsule, filter, package, or component containing flavourings
  • A technical feature that makes it possible for the consumer to alter the product’s taste, smell, or smoke intensity
What does this mean for Smokers Moving Forward?

Smokers who prefer some form of menthol cigarettes or rolling tobacco will no longer be able to buy their favourite products in the UK after the 20th of May 2020. That accounts for quite a large number of people estimated to be around 24.5% of all smokers in the UK. While there have been legal appeals against the law change by the likes of Phillip Morris – the manufacturer of Marlboro – the European Court of Justice declined the same. That leaves users with a handful of choices. Either to shift to regular tobacco, quit smoking altogether, or switch to a menthol-flavoured vape.

Not all is Lost

Looking at it from a glass-half-full perspective, it is fair to say the menthol ban has come at a good time what with the emergence (and evolution) of e-cigarettes. That’s because before electronic cigarettes came around, many smoking alternatives like nicotine replacement therapy were deemed quite ineffective. This saw a good number of people who attempted to quit smoking relapse at some point. But that changed with vaping which has been shown through multiple studies to have a pretty decent success rate of helping people quit cigarettes. In 2019, Cancer Research UK put this figure at about 95%, a staggering number that shows vaping doubles the success rate of quitting cigarettes. With many years in the business, we at AquaVape have made advancements in the e-liquid sector, so for those considering vaping as an alternative, you can always be sure you are getting the best that is made here locally in the UK. Our menthol e-liquids in particular have been a huge hit with vapers in the UK, and have been named on multiple publications as the best in their category in the entire country. Our Fresh Menthol e-juice is highly rated, and we cater to all kinds of vapers through multiple menthol offerings. These include the salt-based Fresh Menthol version that is the Nic Salt Fresh Menthol (ideal for smokers immediately switching to vaping) and the AquaVape Menthol Shortfill (perfect for cloud chasing). We also have the Fruit Menthol, a great choice for menthol lovers who love their fruit (and who doesn’t, right?). If you are a menthol smoker who is devastated by the news of the menthol ban in the UK, this is a good place to start. We got you.

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