Ireland bans menthol flavored cigarettes

Ireland will ban the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes and tobacco products starting from May 20.

A statement issued by the Irish Department of Health quoted Minister for Health Simon Harris as saying that the sale of menthol flavored tobacco including cigarettes will be prohibited from Wednesday.

The purpose of the ban is to ensure that cigarettes and tobacco products for sale can no longer include ingredients that would make smoking more palatable or make it easier for people to start smoking by masking the taste of tobacco, said the minister.

He noted that smoking is an addictive and lethal habit and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to quit the habit.

According to the minister, the World Health Organization said earlier this month 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.

The review 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.