Menthol Ban: Industry Asks More Time

    Tobacco industry representatives are talking to the European Union about postponing the deadline to sell off stock that does not comply with the upcoming ban on menthol cigarettes and new track-and-trace requirements.

    On May 20, two new EU directives are set to come into effect. Article 7 bans the sale of cigarettes with “characterizing flavors” such as menthol. Article 15 requires all tobacco products sold in the EU to comply with track-and-trace rules such as carrying a “unique identifier” to cut down on illicit trade.

    The May 20 deadline was chosen to give suppliers a chance to sell off stock that does not comply with the new rules. Article 15 came into effect in May 2019 but offered a grace period for noncompliant products to be removed.

    The Covid-19 shutdown has left many retailers unable to sell off their noncompliant products and facing losses now that the lockdowns and travel restrictions in many EU countries have been extended into next month.

    The EU Parliament has not commented on a possible extension.