Every Cloud Vape Shop has been promoting the benefits of a #SmokeFreeLife since 2016, so our team have been very interested in the recent ban on menthol cigarettes in the UK. However, we understand that if you are a menthol cigarette smoker then you may be confused about what has just happened and what the ban means for you. If you are a menthol smoker and are now looking for motivation to quit, here is all you need to know about the ban and how menthol vaping may actually help you stop smoking for good.
Why are menthol cigarettes banned in the UK?
A recent poll of adults by Populus for the smokers’ group Forest, found that almost three million of UK smokers (39%) were unaware that menthol flavoured cigarettes have been banned in the UK. So what has been the motivation for banning menthol cigarettes in the UK?
Tobacco menthol cigarettes are banned in many countries across the globe including Canada, Brazil, Turkey, and Ethiopia. Under the new EU Tobacco Directive Law, menthol cigarettes, ‘skinny cigarettes’ and rolling tobacco were withdrawn from shelves on 20 May 2020 over fears that the minty flavour could be responsible for enticing younger people to take up smoking.
Although the UK officially left the European Union at the beginning of 2020, we are currently in a transitional arrangement with the EU and the UK government has legislated to enforce the Bill. This new legislation means that menthol cigarettes, menthol filters and menthol papers are all banned and can no longer be sold to the public by shops and stores in the UK.
The new bill follows previous legislation back in 2007 which banned smoking in enclosed public places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said that outlawing nicer smelling cigarettes will mean that more people will be put off taking up or continuing with the harmful habit.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Menthol cigarettes are a child-friendly starter product because menthol makes it easier to smoke and to inhale the smoke deep into the lungs. Menthol smokers are also more likely to become heavily addicted and find it harder to quit.”
But aren’t menthol fags less harmful than plain tobacco cigarettes?
Many smokers believe that menthol smokes are better for your health, but studies show there is little evidence to support this. In fact, some studies show the opposite; menthol and other flavoured cigarettes mask the harsh tobacco smell and even encourages smokers to smoke more.
According to anti-smoking initiative Smoke Free: “Like other cigarettes, menthol cigarettes harm nearly every organ in the body. They cause many diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Some research shows that menthol cigarettes may be more addictive than non-menthol cigarettes.”
A 2011 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute determined that people who smoke menthol cigarettes are actually more likely to develop lung cancer than people who smoke normal cigarettes.
How has the menthol ban been received?
The ban on menthol cigarettes has had a mixed reaction in the media and among business communities and the general public, although most health groups have welcomed the move.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, the health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco, believes that the government action to ban menthol cigarettes will help to prevent some from taking up smoking and that it was totally justified but was long overdue. “It’s just a shame it’s taken so long,” Arnott said.
However, the ban has had an uneasy reaction among some smokers. Mark, a 31-year old Cannock-based smoker told Birmingham Eastside of the tough decision he now faces because of the ban:
“I have been smoking menthol cigarettes all my life and now that it is banned, I have two options left, switching to normal cigarettes or giving up smoking completely. I have stopped smoking at the moment because of the unavailability of the menthol cigarettes and I don’t like the normal ones. I just have to wait and see how it pans out.”
However, menthol vaping may be a better alternative for Mark if he wants to give up smoking while also managing his cravings.
Philip Morris, owner of an American tobacco manufacturing company that produces the Marlboro brand amongst others, appealed the law change but that was instantly rejected by the European Court of Justice.
Simon Clark, Director of smokers’ rights group Forest, also fears that the ban will lead to greater criminal activity as there will be huge demand for menthol cigarettes on the black market.
Clark said: “The ban on menthol cigarettes is a gross restriction on consumer choice that will do nothing to stop children smoking. Many adults have smoked menthol-flavoured cigarettes for decades. 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.”
Clark also drew on evidence from Canada, where menthol cigarettes have been banned since 2015, that shows the ban has had no impact on the number of youths taking up smoking.
Why do people vape instead of smoke?
Demand for menthol vapes and vaping juice at Every Cloud Vape Shop rose 69% in May, which suggests to us that thousands have already switched to menthol vaping since the ban.
However, there are many reasons why people enjoy vaping. 51.5% of 2.2 million Britons surveyed by the Office of National Statistics for their Adult Smoking Habits report, said that they use a vape as an aid to stop smoking. Vapers can help to kick their smoking habit by using vapes to slowly reduce the amount of nicotine, whilst still getting the experience of having a smoke. Indeed, this appears to be one of the main motivators for vaping – according to the Office of National Statistics’ 2018 report on E-cigarette use in England, 93% of vapers were smokers before they became vapers.
Here are the top reasons that people use vapes and e-cigarettes:
Another reason people chose to vape is because it is cheaper than smoking and vaping can be as expensive as you want it to be. The average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes is £12.73 and even though the starter kits can appear to a bigger outlay to begin with, the cost of juice means vapers spend considerably less per week.
Smoking is considered very unsociable, particularly since it was banned inside public places. Vaping is considered more socially acceptable and vaping can be enjoyed inside the home too.
Finally, there is, of course, the abundance of flavours.
Is using menthol vapes or e-cigarettes healthier?
The NHS recommends vaping as an alternative to cigarettes. The NHS website details that vapes and e-cigarettes are far less harmful than cigarettes and in some instances can actually help smokers quit for good. Vape juice does not include tobacco or produce carbon monoxide or tar, two of the most damaging components inhaled from cigarettes.
The nicotine found in the juice can be easily altered after time to slowly reduce the dependency. Menthol vapes are particularly helpful for heavy smokers who find it hard to go cold turkey. Whilst it is addictive, it is not actually the nicotine that is harmful to our bodies, it is the other chemicals found in cigarettes.
Whilst vaping is not completely risk free, NHS experts predict that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes. However, vaping has certainly helped to reduce the number of British smokers in recent years. According to a joint study by YouGov and Ash, more than 300,000 people in the UK have quit smoking during Covid-19.
Ready to try a menthol vape? Every Cloud Vape Shop recommends RIOT S:ALT:
The RIOT S:ALT range includes a refreshing menthol Pure Mint option and is built on hybrid nicotine. This is a unique and innovative blend of nicotine freebase and nicotine salts. The combination of the freebase and salt nicotine gives the most realistic alternative to a cigarette to help people stop smoking successfully. It’s now time for smokers to embrace the ultimate alternative!