A ban on the sale of menthol-flavoured tobacco, including cigarettes, comes into effect today (Wednesday).
The aim is to ensure that cigarette and tobacco products no longer include ingredients that would make smoking more palatable or make it easier for someone to start smoking by masking the taste of tobacco.
The prohibition is contained in the EU (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 made by the Health Minister Simon Harris in 2016. The regulations transposed the 2014 EU Tobacco Products Directive into Irish law.
The four-year delay was designed to give smokers who use menthol-flavoured products time to switch to other products.
“The pleasant taste of menthol masks the true taste of tobacco and might attract first-time smokers or keep people smoking who might wish to quit,” said the Minister, who added that the COVID-19 pandemic had it made it more important than ever to stop smoking.
He referred to studies showing that smokers were more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.