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Minister for Health welcomes the ban on the sale of menthol flavoured cigarettes and tobacco and urges smokers to quit during the COVID-19 pandemic

Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. has welcomed that the sale of menthol flavoured tobacco including cigarettes will be prohibited from tomorrow.

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.The prohibition is contained in the EU (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 made by the Minister in 2016. The Regulations transposed the 2014 EU Tobacco Products Directive into Irish law.

Minister 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.”

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