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Menthol cig ban will hit smokers at the worst possible time says Forest

The imminent ban on menthol cigarettes has come at the worst possible time for smokers, say campaigners.

From May 20, 2020, it will be an offence for manufacturers to produce menthol cigarettes and for retailers to sell menthol cigarettes in the UK and throughout the European Union.

The ban also applies to hand-rolling tobacco with mentholated filters or papers if they are supplied together in the same product.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest which opposed the ban, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on people’s daily lives. This is not the moment to prohibit a product many smokers enjoy and take comfort from.

“Given the current crisis, and the disruption and anxiety it is causing, the ban is going to hit consumers at the worst possible time.”

He added:

“We believe that a significant number of smokers are unaware of the forthcoming ban. They will be shocked when they find that their favourite brands are no longer available via legitimate retailers.

“The government is understandably preoccupied with more serious issues but imposing prohibition on so many consumers without a proper awareness campaign is inexcusable.”

Simon Clark

Mission & Vision



Forest’s mission is to protect the interests of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco.


Our key aims and objectives are to:

  • counteract the “denormalisation” of smoking, and smokers
  • prevent further restrictions on the purchase and consumption of tobacco
  • establish closer links with other tobacco-friendly groups at home and abroad
  • build support among consumers of tobacco and other similarly threatened groups
  • highlight the increasingly intrusive nature of Big Government in the lives of private individuals