Menthol cigarettes: why Italy (and elsewhere) has decided to ban them and what are the less harmful alternatives

Menthol cigarettes taken off the market

Modified on: 01/12/2022

Why have they taken menthol cigarettes off the market, and which products can you buy instead

Even if you have never been a smoker, you are probably aware that among the various types of cigarettes on the market, there are some with a strong taste and some with a lighter taste. Gone are those with unique flavourings, such as those with menthol. This news concerns not only our country but the whole of Europe.

In this article on Terpy’s blog, we will find out why mint cigarettes can no longer be found in Italy and what is the less harmful alternative for those who do not want to give up this flavour.

Mint-flavoured cigarettes

Mint flavoured cigarettes: Since when they have been banned in Italy?

Until a few years ago, it was possible to buy mint-flavoured cigarettes at Italian tobacconists (the very famous Marlboro menthol cigarettes with the unmistakable green packet and the Camel Activate, which had a mint capsule inside the filter).

This particular type of cigarette was born somewhat by chance in the 1920s when an Ohioan, Lloyd ‘Spud Hughes’, discovered that storing blondes in a case full of menthol crystals made smoking fresher and more pleasant. This ‘discovery’ started the production of flavoured cigarettes.

For some years now, however, it has been impossible to find this product on the shelves of Italian and European tobacconists. How come? Well, simple: in 2014, with Directive 2014/40 /EU, the European Union introduced new rules on the sale of menthol-flavoured tobacco products (but also cinnamon and other flavours), banning their distribution from 2020. Italy, which transposed this directive in 2016, has aligned itself with Brussels’ decisions and, therefore, all mint-flavoured tobacco products have been taken out of circulation as of 20 May 2020.

But what is the origin of this decision? Let’s clarify.

Read also: What types of electronic cigarette batteries exist, and how to choose the right one for your device

Are menthol cigarettes more harmful than regular cigarettes? Here are the reasons for outlawing them

That smoking tobacco is extremely harmful to health is no mystery. In light of this, the decision to take menthol cigarettes off the market but not regular cigarettes could be bizarre, to say the least (and indeed it is). However, the institutions have given a reason for this choice. According to studies, mint’s pleasant and refreshing effect reduces the perceived irritation of the respiratory tract typical of smoking and encourages many people (especially young people) to try cigarettes.

In short, menthol camouflages the real taste of tobacco and the unpleasant sensations that all smokers experience when they start smoking. As a result, it initiates many smoking people who might hypothetically give up the idea after the first puff. Moreover, studies have shown that menthol cigarettes deter many smokers from any attempt to quit the habit and make it more challenging to recognise the symptoms of smoking.

Ultimately, menthol cigarettes do not do more harm than traditional cigarettes, but, in practice, they encourage more smokers. For the same reasons, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has also decided to ban the sale of these products in the US.

Alternatives to menthol cigarettes

Alternatives to menthol cigarettes: the e-cig is the least harmful

You should know that this European directive could allow you to give up the smoking habit once and for all without having to deprive yourself of the pleasant sensation of inhaling the taste of mint. In addition, European and Italian laws ban menthol products and do not include electronic cigarette liquids with this flavouring. In short, what initially seemed like a problem could turn into a blessing.

Vaping, as you may already know, is significantly less harmful than smoking, and the reason is elementary: smoking an analogue cigarette introduces into the body an impressive amount of carcinogenic substances produced by the combustion of tobacco and paper; vaping an e-cig, on the other hand, inhales the vapours produced by heating tobacco, fruity or creamy liquids. Among the unique aromas that can be vaped with an e-cigarette is menthol (one of the most popular precisely because of the fresh sensation it leaves in the mouth and throat).

If you have never looked at vaping as a solution to quitting smoking, you may wonder how you will give up this nasty habit without nicotine. Vaping a mentholated liquid will satisfy your palate, but you will miss out on this addictive substance.
However, there is good news: liquid nicotine can be included in vaping liquids, and you will be free to decrease the dosage gradually. This way, you won’t feel the withdrawal symptoms, and you can get rid of the smoking habit for good.

Read also: Electronic cigarette and smoke detectors: do fire alarms detect e-cig vapour?

In conclusion

If you have read this article from beginning to end, it will become apparent to you not only why menthol cigarettes are no longer on the market but also why vaping is a viable alternative to them; with menthol-flavoured liquids, you can enjoy a taste you love and take the opportunity to try to give up smoking.

At Terpy, you can find a wide selection of vaping liquids and flavours, including mint-flavoured ones!