Flavored cigarettes are now banned

Flavored cigarettes are now banned

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The end for menthol cigarettes

Menthol-flavored cigarettes were once very popular. In May 2020, the ban on flavored cigarettes without exception came into force in all EU countries. That is probably the end for menthol cigarettes in the EU.

Amount of nicotine, filters, additives - there are many differences with tobacco cigarettes. One variant will now be omitted: the menthol-flavored cigarette.

Flavored cigarettes incite to smoke

The menthol cigarette is about to be put out of operation in the EU. From Wednesday 20 May 2020, all cigarettes with characteristic flavors will be banned in the EU countries without exception, because they cover the tobacco taste and thus contribute to the promotion of tobacco consumption. This ends a four-year transition phase for products with a market share higher than three percent. The regulation is part of the EU Tobacco Directive, which was passed in 2014 after laborious negotiations and entered into force in 2016.

More space for warnings and shock pictures

Since then, two thirds of the front and back of cigarette boxes and rolling tobacco packaging have also been reserved for shock pictures and explanatory warnings. The rules should lower the smoking rate among adolescents and reduce cases of premature mortality. The EU Commission is currently carrying out a study on the application of the Tobacco Directive.

Actions to avert the ban are dismissed

Shortly before entry into force, the European Court of Justice confirmed the tightened rules. At the beginning of May 2016, the Luxembourg judges rejected lawsuits from Poland and several tobacco companies. With regard to the aromas, they pointed out that products such as menthol cigarettes with a "pleasant aroma" should make smoking more attractive, especially for beginners. EU lawmakers were therefore authorized to ban these products in order to curb tobacco consumption.

What's So Bad About Menthol Cigarettes?

"The biggest problem with menthol is that it has a cooling and pain-relieving, slightly anesthetic effect," says Katrin Schaller from the Cancer Prevention Unit of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. This means that the normally scratchy smoke is easier to inhale. That makes menthol cigarettes especially attractive for new smokers.

Eight million smoking deaths each year

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that eight million people worldwide die prematurely each year from the effects of cigarette consumption. From a health policy perspective, the EU ban should be welcomed, says Schaller. (vb; source: dpa)

Do you want to quit smoking? Tips for stopping smoking can be found in the article: Quit smoking.

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • European Commission: Regulation of Tobacco Products (accessed: May 20, 2020),

Video: The FDA Wants To Ban All Menthol-Flavored Cigarettes (September 2022).


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