The Menthol Cigarette Ban UK

Monday 8th June, 2020

As of 20th May 2020, the menthol cigarette ban came into effect in the UK. The government first announced the change in tobacco laws in May 2016. Plain product packaging was introduced, along with the news that all flavoured tobacco products will no longer be legal. 

If you’re a menthol fan, you’re probably thinking what are you going to do now. Fortunately, there is an alternative that’s considered better! E-cigarettes.

The good news is that the ban does not include E-cig or vaping products.


Why is there a ban on flavoured tobacco in the UK?

The ban comes as part of a four-year process, stemming from the EU Tobacco Products Directive, to deter young people from smoking. 

It has been discovered that young smokers mistakenly believe that menthol cigarettes are ‘lighter on the throat’ and therefore healthier. In 2018, it was also found that 1in 8 smokers consider menthol as their favourite. 

Chief executive, Deborah Arnott, from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has said, 

“Research shows that menthol in cigarettes makes it easier for children to try smoking and to go on to become addicted smokers. Getting rid of menthol cigarettes will reduce the likelihood of young people taking up smoking and make it easier for smokers to quit.”

The nationwide ban aims to cut down on the number of smokers, casual smokers and prevent potential new smokers from starting. It includes any products that have “characterising flavours” such as menthol cigarettes, skinny cigs and tobacco products.

Refillable pods (also known as open-systems) are for the user that wants to explore and experiment with different flavours. Although convenience is lost, they can be a lot of fun. Unlike closed-systems who only work with a small offering of flavours, refillables can use any e-liquid you’d like. 

So if you find yourself getting excited about walking into a vape shop or scrolling through an online store and looking at all of the different flavours to try, this is the perfect option for you.

menthol quit smoking

No person may produce or supply a cigarette or hand-rolling tobacco with:

‘(a) a filter, paper, package, capsule or other component containing flavourings;

‘(b) a filter, paper or capsule containing tobacco or nicotine; or

‘(c) a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste, or smoke intensity of the product.’


What are the alternative to menthol cigarettes?

Vaping and e-cigarettes.

The ban does not expand to vaping, and e-cigs and so many have already turned to vape as an authentic alternative. Not only is it a great alternative, but it will also save you money.

The best part of it all, you can use nic salts and try a huge range of new flavours, so you will still get the nicotine your body craves, without all of the toxic tobacco chemicals. Unsure of what nic salts are? Find out in our recent blog.

Many transitioners have found that vaping and e-cigs have helped them to stop smoking much more effectively than other stop smoking methods, as the motion of vaping is the same as smoking. The habit of smoking and the social aspect of it is the hardest to overcome, so being able to carry on this activity without all of the toxic chemicals, enables smokers to switch while not changing much of their day-to-day routine.

Are you interested in switching to vaping? We have a range of kits for you to choose from.

If you’re new to the world of vape, we’d recommend starting with a pod system. They’re small, lightweight, easy to use and are available pre-filled or as a refillable. Considering changing to a pod system? Learn more about what they are and how they can work for you.

If you’ve had some experience with vapes before, check out our range of mods, tanks, DIY supplies and rebuildable’s to get a bespoke vaping experience.

We don’t just do basic menthol e-liquids either. So if you fancy 1 of your 5 a day (not literally, of course), then you could try Impact’s (fruity) Mental Menthol vape juice. Available in Menthol Harvest Berry, Menthol Strawberry, Menthol Raspberry and Menthol Blueberry.

The History of Menthol Cigarettes

Let’s go back nearly 100 years ago.

»     1924

An Ohio man named Lloyd “Spud” Hughes developed the first menthol cigarettes.

»     1927

The Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company acquired the patent for menthol cigarettes and marketed them as ‘Spud Menthol Cooled Cigarettes’ throughout the US.

»     1933

They were the only menthol cigarettes on the market until the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company created the Kool brand in 1933.

»     1938

For over 20 years, the Kool brand reigned supreme leader of the flavoured tobacco empire. In this time, their advertising focused on ‘throat comfort’ and how ‘refreshing’ smoking a menthol Kool was. As smoking was not seen as a health risk at this time, it paved the way for the false belief that menthol cigarettes are healthier than regular.


»     1939


»     1956


After seeing the success of the Kool brand, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company created its own menthol cigarette, creating the first menthol filter-tip under its Salem brand. These proved very popular amongst consumers and were sold as an all-purpose cigarette due to their less mentholated makeup.

»     1974 – 1979


As you can see, by the ’70s tobacco companies were asked to add disclaimers onto their advertising, warning people of the dangers of smoking. However, they were still able to advertise like any other product and perceive it as a ‘cool’ or ‘kool’ thing to do.


»     1979


Are we the only country to ban menthol cigarettes?

No, we’re a little behind compared to other countries. Brazil became the first country in 2012 to ban flavoured tobacco products, although due to legal issues it was not fully instated until 2018. 

Canada also banned the production, supply and use of flavoured tobacco products in 2017. However, several of its provinces had already banned it.

For 2020, the ban is not just for the UK. It’s for the whole EU. So if you were hoping to go to Europe in the future and enjoy your favourite cigarettes, we’re sorry, but you won’t have much luck there either. The UK has enforced this ban in line with the EU, based on the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

In Summary

Menthol cigarettes, along with any other flavoured tobacco products, are now outlawed in the UK and Europe. This means you will no longer be able to buy them from anywhere in the nation, and it is illegal to produce or supply any flavoured tobacco products. 

The good news is that there is an alternative. We supply a range of starter kits, including pod systems, which are available pre-filled or as a refillable. Choose from our range of menthol vape juice and discover new flavours along the way.


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