The sale of menthol cigarettes is to be banned in Ireland from tomorrow. The ban is being introduced to ensure that products for sale can no longer include ingredients that would make smoking more palatable by masking the taste of tobacco.
The World Health Organisation says tobacco kills more than 8 million people globally every year. More than 7 million of these deaths are from direct tobacco use and around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
A review of studies by public health experts has found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.
The purpose of the ban is to ensure that cigarette and tobacco products for sale can no longer include ingredients that would make smoking more palatable or make it easier for someone to start smoking by masking the taste of tobacco.
The four year lead-in time for the prohibition was to allow smokers that use menthol flavoured products adequate time to switch to other products.
Health Minister Simon Harris said: “I welcome this ban. Smoking is an addictive and lethal habit. The pleasant taste of menthol masks the true taste of tobacco and might attract first time smokers or keep people smoking who might wish to quit.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to quit. On 11 May the World Health Organisation said that a review of studies by public health experts found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.
“It also warned that tobacco is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases and these conditions increase the risk of developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19. I urge everyone who is thinking about quitting to contact the HSE Quit service for support.”