Heads Up: The UK Is Banning Menthol Cigarettes in Two Weeks

Say goodbye to ever feeling like you're in Year 10 again.
Cigarette in mouth
Photo: Emily Bowler

From the 20th of May, 2020, all menthol cigarettes and flavoured rolling tobacco, along with "skinny cigarettes", will be banned in the UK. Following the ban on ten-packs of menthol cigarettes in 2017 – a bid to deter young people from taking up smoking – a new EU Tobacco Product Directive law completely outlaws menthol cigarettes.

A spokesperson for the charity Action on Smoking and Health gave the Liverpool Echo a rundown of exactly what will be outlawed this month.

The new rules mean it will be illegal to "produce or supply a cigarette or hand rolling tobacco with: a filter, paper, package, capsule or other component containing flavourings, or a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste or smoke intensity of the product."

Information poster in Londis. Photo by author.

The guidelines outlined in a convenience store. Photo by author.

The owner of a convenience store in south London tells me there are already plans in place for the ban to be set in motion: "Since [menthol tobacco products] will be completely illegal to sell, they're going to send someone to pick up the leftover stock."

Someone has, of course, launched a petition to stop the government from sending Vogues and Marlboro Touches to the cigarette graveyard, but they might be a little late. It looks handing an unsuspecting friend a menthol cigarette in a nightclub smoking area is set to become an actual crime, rather than just an ethical one.