Q&A Menthol Cigarette Ban (20 May 2020)

On 20 May 2020 the Menthol Cigarette Ban comes into force across the UK, please see below a simple Q&A on what this means: 

Q) What is the Menthol Cigarette ban?

A) The ban on tobacco products with a characterising flavour, or more commonly known as the menthol ban, is the next phase of the European Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD2).

Q) What products does the ban apply to?

A) The Menthol Ban applies to cigarettes that contain mentholated tobacco or a menthol capsule, as well as hand-rolling tobacco products that come with mentholated filters or papers in the same packaging. The law does not prohibit mentholated papers and filters to be sold separately, as long as they are produced and packaged separately from hand-rolling tobacco products.

Q) When does the ban come into force?

A) The sale of Menthol and Crushball tobacco products will be permitted up until 20 May 2020. The ban then comes into force on 20 May 2020 and no retailers in the UK or anywhere in the EU will be able to sell Menthol or Crushball cigarettes.

Q) Will there be a sell-through period of existing Menthol cigarette stock?

A) There will be no sell-through period of Menthol cigarettes. From 20 May 2020 it will be illegal for any retailer to sell Menthol or Crushball cigarettes.

Q) Will the ban encourage smokers towards buying illegal menthol tobacco products?

A) Illegal Menthol tobacco products have now been identified in the UK market, and some smokers may be tempted to buy fake products from the black market, but these products will be unregulated and like many illegal tobacco products have previously been found to contain asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies and rat droppings. Illegal tobacco is a growing source of funding for organised criminals, bringing financial pain to legitimate retailers and leaving a legacy of harm in our local communities.

Q) What should I do if I am aware of somebody buying or selling illegal tobacco?

A) If you know someone who is involved in buying or selling illegal tobacco, don’t turn a blind eye. It is not a ‘victimless crime’. Please contact HMRC, your local Trading Standards or Crimestoppers and help tackle this serious crime.