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Sale of menthol cigarettes banned in Ireland from today

A European Court of Justice ruling four years ago declared that the flavouring is used to increase the attractiveness of cigarettes.

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MENTHOL CIGARETTES AND tobacco are banned from being sold in Ireland from today. 

All tobacco products with flavours, with the exception of menthol, were first prohibited in 2016. However, the banning of menthol cigarettes was pushed out until this year. 

A European Court of Justice ruling four years ago declared that the flavouring is used to increase the attractiveness of cigarettes.

“Menthol, by its pleasant flavour, makes tobacco products more attractive to consumers and … reducing the attractiveness of those products may contribute to reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and dependence among new and continuing users,” said the 2016 ruling.

Menthol cigarettes are flavoured using mint flavourings or extracts. While they have not been proven to be any more toxic than regular cigarettes, a study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that the available studies suggest they are more addictive and harder to quit. 

Minister for Health Simon Harris today said the “pleasant taste of menthol masks the true taste of tobacco”, adding that it might attract first-time smokers or keep people smoking.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to quit,” he said.

“On 11 May the World Health Organisation said that a review of studies by public health experts found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with Covid-19, compared to non-smokers.

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“It also warned that tobacco is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases and these conditions increase the risk of developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19. I urge everyone who is thinking about quitting to contact the HSE Quit service for support,” said Harris. 

Earlier this year, Harris also pledged to outlaw certain flavoured vaping products. 

The previous Government said that certain flavoured e-cigarettes such as candy floss and bubblegum could be banned in 2021. 

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