Menthol cigarettes to be phased out within weeks ahead of complete ban

The ban also includes skinny 'lipstick-style' cigarettes and flavours such as vanilla and strawberry

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Menthol and flavoured cigarettes are to be phased out within weeks ahead of a complete ban in 2020 in another piece of bad news for smokers.

Under new tobacco laws, menthol cigarettes will only be sold in packs of 20 from May 21 as part of a longer plan to phase out the flavoured cigarettes entirely by 2020.

The complete ban also include skinny "lipstick-style" cigarettes and flavours such as vanilla and strawberry.

The phase out began last May when cigarette packaging was standardised under new rules designed to prevent young people taking up the habit.

Tobacco  companies were given a year to sell old stock and fully implement the changes under the directive,

Amanda Sandford of health charity Action on Smoking Health (ASH) welcomed the ban.

“There is evidence that flavourings, and menthol in particular, can mask the harshness of tobacco smoke, making it easier for young people to smoke,” she told The Independent.

Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Spring Budget on Wednesday  revealed the cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes would rise by 35 pence.

A new minimum excise duty is also separately being introduced on cigarettes from the 20th May based on a packet price of £7.35, meaning that smokers will not be able to buy a pack of cigarettes for less than £8.82.

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