Menthol Flavour Ban in UK?


Menthol e liquid-loving vape users have escaped the dreaded UK menthol flavour smoking ban this time around, but could they be next in line for the chop?

Let’s have a quick look at the current UK menthol ban UK and also at other flavour bans abroad to see what’s happening right now. We’ll then weigh up the chances of a future menthol flavour ban happening in the UK.

Just in case you’re afraid your menthol vape juice is about to be banned, let me just clear up which things the current UK menthol ban does and does not cover.

Are menthol flavours being banned in UK?

Thankfully, they aren’t banning menthol flavour e liquids at the moment in the UK. This is because the current menthol ban only applies to actual smoking products (like cigarettes), and not e liquid flavours. This means UK customers can still carry on buying menthol e liquid, pre-filled vape cartridges, etc.

No more minty cigs for smokers!

If you’re a smoker of menthol cigarettes, today’s not going to be a very happy day for you. This is because UK legislation to ban menthol tobacco flavours has just come into effect.

So from now on, smokers across the UK will no longer be able to buy menthol cigarettes or menthol smoking products in any shape or form. 

Why did they ban menthol flavour cigarettes?

In a nutshell, the UK government banned menthol cigarettes to help discourage young people from taking up smoking. The reasoning is that  menthol cigarettes taste nicer than harsher, normal ones, and so children are more likely to give them a shot. They like the taste, they want more, and then they become full-on smokers. 

Why I agree with the UK flavour ban

Speaking as someone whose first ever smoke was a king-size Consulate in a hedge (it was amazing), I’m totally in support of this flavour ban. Menthol and other flavoured cigarettes are designed to be addictive. In my opinion they’re a dangerous lure for children, and are more than likely to get them hooked in the first place. Good riddance!

As a vape user though, I’d be pretty upset if my menthol e liquid was hit with a ban, too. But is this likely? Let’s investigate!

Will menthol flavour vape juice be banned in UK?

In the short term, I don’t think it’s likely at all that we will lose our menthol e liquid to a UK ban.

However, government attitudes to vaping are changing fast. And this could mean problems for fans of menthol vape juice in the future. As well as this, many countries around the world are beginning to clamp down on availability of flavoured e liquids. And some are even banning them outright. 

US flavour bans: a sign of things to come?

They say that if you want to see what’s going to happen in the UK in a few years time, you should just look across the pond. When it comes to vaping and flavoured e liquid, the US has had its fair share of bans. Should we Brits be worried, too?

What is the vape juice flavour ban?

The latest US vape flavour ban announced in 2019 is set to be particularly hard on US vapers, not to mention vape store owners. Authorities have either restricted or banned outright certain e liquid flavours in several states. And this is happening in spite of recent softening of the original legislation. 

US-style vape flavour ban in the UK? 

But could a flavour ban like this happen here in the UK, and if so, would it affect our menthol e liquid, too?

Looking at the possible reasons for the US bans, it’s not impossible that we could end up in a similar situation. This in turn could mean we then get slammed with a ban on menthol vape juice, among other things.

In the US, the e liquid flavour ban happened because the government needed to look tough in response to recent events. First there was an explosion of school-age Juulers. Then, vapers started dying after inhaling dodgy CBD vape juice. The government had to do something, so they went an e liquid flavour ban. Strangely though, this didn’t include menthol flavours – just “mint”.

I can’t see why the same thing couldn’t happen here. If it did, we could face a UK ban on menthol e liquid, and on other flavour juices, too.

Vaping horror stories could lead to a UK menthol e liquid ban

E liquid and vaping in general get a bad press all the time in the UK, thanks in part to pressure from big tobacco and others. There are also genuine fears from some UK medical authorities about the possible health risks of some e liquid flavours.

But just imagine a similar “perfect storm” of two or more vaping horror stories happening at the same time!

And who’s to say that there wouldn’t be a knee-jerk response like this from our own government, too? In this case, a UK ban on menthol flavour e liquid, CBD juices, or all flavours altogether suddenly seems more plausible. 

Menthol ban as vaping e liquid becomes the new smoking

It has to be said that the way the UK government views vaping right now is pretty lenient compared to how some countries view it.

Fewer UK smokers could spell trouble for menthol fans!

However, this relatively relaxed status quo could change radically, once cigarette smoking becomes less of a social concern. Since 2011, the UK has seen a 5% drop in smoker numbers, and the rate is still falling. Paradoxically, this drop is probably thanks to higher numbers of vaping Brits, many of whom enjoy menthol e liquid! 

If smoking fades away altogether, vaping could replace it as the “new smoking”. In this scenario, authorities could further tighten rules around vape products, such as e cigarette devices and vape juice. As a result, e liquid flavours like CBD and menthol could theoretically face a ban.

Right now, they’re going after tobacco, but later it could be e liquid. Don’t forget, countries like Turkey, Taiwan and Mexico have already outlawed vaping altogether. Meanwhile, others (like the US) have tight rules in place when it comes to e liquid choice and availability.

People with nice hats will steal your menthol vape juice

The way I see it, the powers that be are only giving e liquid a relatively easy ride right now because tobacco is still public enemy No 1. But what happens when the smouldering tobacco monster is slain for good? Or if cigarettes end up being taxed so highly that only people with nice hats can afford them?

Maybe then, vape juice will lose its cover as a “safer alternative to tobacco” and become the new enemy. This could then make a restriction or ban on availability and branding of e liquid flavours, including menthol, much more likely.

Good news for menthol fans

In the short-term at least, a UK ban on menthol flavour e liquid seems unlikely. Yes, we may indeed see our own British version of the US flavour ban at some point in the future. But then again, it just might not happen at all. And that means more joyous minty vapes for us all – even for people with nice hats. 

Remember also, that even if UK authorities do end up banning premixed flavoured vape juice, we’ll always be able to mix our own e liquid, come what may. At least that’s good news!