The EU ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes will needlessly restrict adult smokers’ choices while doing little to prevent underage smoking, according to smokers’ rights group Forest.
Responding to claims by the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health that the ban on “child-friendly” menthol cigarettes is long overdue, Forest said there is no evidence that banning menthol cigarettes will stop children smoking.
“The ban on menthol cigarettes is a gross restriction on consumer choice that will do nothing to stop children smoking, said Simon Clark, director of Forest.
“Evidence from Canada, where menthol cigarettes were first banned in 2015, suggests that the ban had no overall impact on youth smoking rates because younger smokers simply switched to non-menthol cigarettes,” said Clark.
“Many adults have smoked menthol-flavored cigarettes for decades,” he added. “This week that small pleasure will be taken away from them and the only people who will benefit are the criminals who supply the black market with illegal and counterfeit goods.”
Menthol cigarettes will be banned in the European Union starting tomorrow.
The ban will also outlaw flavored cigarettes, skinny cigarettes and flavored rolling tobacco. The measure is part of the EU Tobacco Products Directive and aims to stop younger people from smoking as well as curb smoking rates among current smokers.