Many smokers quit after ban on menthol cigarettes

Many smokers quit after ban on menthol cigarettes

Tobacco industry has put new alternatives on the market

28-09-2022 · News

The European ban on menthol cigarettes is working. In the past few years, more ‘menthol smokers’ have stopped than other smokers. This was the outcome of research in which Maastricht University and the Trimbos Institute participated.

Cigarettes and loose tobacco with a menthol flavour have been banned by the European Union since 2020. The reason for this is that the menthol flavour encourages more people to smoke. “Menthol takes away the bitterness when inhaling and it feels less damaging because of the fresh taste,” says UM professor of Tobacco Discouragement Marc Willemsen, also co-author of the article that was published in the scientific journal Tobacco Control.

In the European Union, 1,300 smokers who were over the age of eighteen were interviewed before and after the ban. This showed that more ‘menthol smokers’ (26 per cent) quit than non-menthol smokers (14 per cent). Also, a considerably greater group of menthol smokers made an attempt to quit. 

Nevertheless, it appears that despite the ban, one third of the participants in the study still smokes tobacco with a menthol flavour. This has a specific reason, says Willemsen. “The European Commission banned all kinds of flavours in 2018, but menthol was still allowed to be sold for another two years, due to pressure from the tobacco industry. In the meantime, manufacturers have put new alternatives on the market, including a fluid with menthol flavour that can be dripped on loose tobacco, and covers that you can place over your filter cigarettes. We hope that the study may contribute towards a ban on this.”

The research was carried out in the Netherlands, because the UM and the Trimbos Institute are in the habit of distributing questionnaires among the population every year to measure the effects of tobacco policies. According to Willemsen, the number of smokers who choose the menthol flavour is fairly large. “It concerns specific groups, such as youths and women.”

Photo: Pixabay

Categories: Science
Tags: Smoking

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