From May 20, new rules will restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes as part of the EU Tobacco Product Directive being brought in to try to reduce the number of young people taking up smoking.
Menthol cigarettes are said to mask the harshness of smoking for young people trying to for the first time.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health – a campaigning public health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco – said: “Research shows that menthol makes it easier for young people to start smoking because it masks the harshness when they first try to inhale.
“In reality, menthol cigarettes are just as harmful as regular cigarettes and most adult smokers become addicted to smoking in their youth. “Removing menthol cigarettes from the market will deter young people from starting smoking.
“This will help the Government reach its ambition for a smoke-free England by 2030, which is defined by smoking rates below five per cent.”
In an explanation to retailers, The Association of Convenience Stores, said: “The European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive makes it an offence for manufacturers to produce menthol cigarettes and retailers to sell menthol cigarettes from May 20, 2020.
“The ban also applies to capsule, click on, click and roll, crushball or dual menthol cigarettes.
“The ban does not apply to heated tobacco products or e-cigarette products.
“Retailers must have sold through any remaining stock of menthol cigarettes by May 20, 2020.”