Ireland will ban menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco, along with irregularly shaped packs from May 20, to be in compliance with the EU Tobacco Product Directive, which aims at improving the functioning of the internal market for tobacco and related products.
Additionally contained in the ban are click double cigarettes that vary from ordinary to menthol. Branding outlawed too.
Cigarettes with a technical feature that allows consumers to modify the smell, taste or smoke intensity of the product are included in the ban, as well as irregularly shaped cigarette packs, such as slim packs.
The adoption of the measure follows the completion of a four-year phasing-in period under the EU Directive on tobacco products which became applicable in the EU Member States on 20 May 2016.
Branding also was outlawed, and tobacco goods can only be marketed in plain packaging with prominent health warnings. The European Commission says it expects the laws will lower the number of smokers across the EU by 2.4 million.
Simon Harris, the Irish Minister for Health, said in a recent statement that while flavored cigarettes mainly encourage young people to start smoking, they are not less harmful than normal cigarettes.
“There has been a great study that shows that young men and women are introduced into smoking frequently by menthol cigarettes since they find them attractive they find them irritative and they find them more palatable, and so that is a way they have introduced to smoking. Also, the cigarette firms now have targeted women with all these goods so that we strongly feel they ought to be prohibited and welcome the government’s choice to carry this legislation forward.”Des Cox, from The Royal College of Physicians.
Other research indicates that menthol may boost nicotine levels in the blood which makes them more addictive and harder to quit than regular cigarettes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease. Among the WHO regions, Europe has the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking among adults (28 percent) and some of the highest prevalence of tobacco use by adolescents.
Despite progress in reducing levels of smoking in Ireland in the last few decades, it is still one of the best public health issues.
According to Irelands’Health Service Executive(HSE), tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the country, with nearly 6,000 people dying from tobacco-related diseases each year.
Apart from the prohibition of cigarettes and rolling tobacco with characterizing flavors, the Directive requires health warnings on tobacco and related products, bans promotional and misleading elements on tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and herbal products for smoking, and allows EU countries to prohibit internet sales of tobacco products.
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