Tobacco Flavour Ban Sparks Fears

Posted 7th January 2020 by Dave Cross
Menthol cigarettes and menthol hand-rolled tobacco is set to be banned from sale in the United Kingdom from May. The ban also encompasses “click” cigarettes that change from tobacco to menthol flavour when squeezed or clicked. The move is part of the phasing in of the European Tobacco Products Directive.

Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health, said: “No person may produce or supply cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco with:

  • a filter, paper, package, capsule or other component containing flavourings
  • a filter, paper or capsule containing tobacco or nicotine
  • a technical feature allowing the consumer to modify the smell, taste, or smoke intensity of the product”

Many are hoping that Brexit will mean a relaxation of the rules applied to vaping, but Arnott feels there is no chance of a reversal of the anti-tobacco steps: “The regulations will be reviewed this year but given that the UK goes further than the EU requires on tobacco regulations e.g. we ban all advertising, and point of sale displays, and require plain packaging, it is unlikely that leaving the EU will lead to a weakening of our tobacco regulations.”

The impending menthol ban has provoked an immediate response from Imperial Brands. The tobacco giant has announced the launch of its new Rizla Flavour Infusions cards product line.

The Flavour Infusions cards are placed into a pouch or cigarette pack for around an hour prior to use. The 25p Menthol Chill and Fresh Mint cards go on sale this month and highlight how anti-flavour legislation is easily circumventable.

Arnott commented: “Imperial Tobacco is trying to get around the ban by producing ‘Rizla infusions’ cards which can be inserted in cigarette packs or rolling tobacco to produce a menthol flavour. They are arguing that these are ‘accessories’ and therefore not classified as tobacco products for the purposes of these regulations.”

“It’s shocking that Imperial Tobacco plans to sell cards which can be inserted in packs to add menthol flavours to tobacco and get round the ban. We believe this breaks not just the spirit but the letter of the law and we’ve informed the Department of Health so they can stop it happening.”

Although there is no provision in the current iteration of the Tobacco Products Directive to restrict eliquid flavours, many sources are reporting that the subject is currently up for debate as Europe formulates the next version.

While some sources contend that the U.K. will be free to ignore what is known as TPD3, many others (such as Clive Bates) believe a number of its components will be included in future legislation in order to facilitate harmonised cross-border vape product trade.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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