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Head’s menthol cigarette ban ‘worthless’ as £ 1bn sold annually through loophole | United Kingdom | New UK News

A few days after a ban in Japan went into effect, Tobacco International launched a line of alternative products containing menthol but complying with the law. Campaigners called on Public Health England [PHE] to immediately ban the sale of cigarettes like New Superking Green and Sterling New Dual as the devastating health record emerges. PHE said it is concerned that some tobacco products that may have a characteristic minty flavor will still be sold.

Deborah Arnott, CEO of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “We warned the government that the flavor ban was not working and they were supposed to have done a review of the legislation and released their response by May 20. . A month later and there is still a dead silence. As the sales figures show, limiting the ban to only flavors defined as “characterful” has left such a big loophole that the ban is pretty much worthless. It is time for the government to act to prevent people from dying of smoking whose lives could have been saved.

Menthol was banned on May 20, 2020 because it masks the harsh taste of tobacco and makes cigarettes more appealing to children.

But JTI sparked fury by unveiling “menthol replacement” cigarettes. Industry figures leaked to this newspaper reveal that in the 12 months since the ban, the company has sold more than 100 million packs – or more than 2 billion individual cigarettes – and made around 91 , 65 million pounds in profit thanks to menthol brands.

Unpublished market data produced by Nielsen for cigarette makers – seen by the Express – also shows that some 707,000 smokers were purchasing the products by the end of 2020.

Based on market trends, there are concerns that 602,751 new customers will be attracted to them this year unless health chiefs enforce the ban.

Measurements show that about 241,000 people who would otherwise have quit continue to smoke because they switched to new brands of menthol instead of quitting via vaping, nicotine replacement or just cold turkey.

With smoking-related illnesses killing half of all smokers, that means around 120,600 lives could be lost due to the failure to order JTI brands off the shelves.

That’s just as many people who lost their lives to Covid from the start of the pandemic until February 21 of this year, when the second major wave was running out of steam.

Anti-smoking lobby group ASH called the ban “long lasting” when it was announced, calling menthol cigarettes a “public health disaster”, warning it was helping 280 children a day to get into the habit of killing in England alone.

MPs from the all-party parliamentary group on smoking and health called for enforcing the ban in its 2021 smoking report and removing the loophole by banning all levels of menthol.

PHE said, “We have contacted manufacturers, including Japan Tobacco International, to alert them to concerns that certain tobacco products that may have a distinctive mint flavor are still on sale. PHE is commissioning additional cigarette testing and independent expert assessment of several products. “

JTI UK said: “We no longer sell cigarettes with characteristic flavors (including cigarettes in flavored capsules).

“Cigarettes with a distinctive mint flavor have been banned from May 20, 2020. We are confident that all of our products fully comply with UK law.

“Some JTI cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco sold in the UK still contain very low levels of menthol. This is not prohibited by law, provided that the use of such flavors does not produce a clearly noticeable odor or taste other than that of tobacco – which they do not.

“Competitors’ launch of similar products in EU markets shows that they too are convinced that low menthol products are allowed by law.

“All information on the ingredients of our new products has been shared with authorities at UK and EU level via the EU Common Entry Portal (EU-CEG) before they are placed on the market. , so there is full transparency throughout this process. We look forward to providing further information if the authorities so request. “

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This notice was published: 2021-07-08 11:33:24

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