Menthol cigarettes and tobacco products cannot be legally sold from tomorrow, Wednesday 20 May.
The end of the minty flavoured cigarettes means any shop will be breaking the law if they continue to stock and sell the products.
The council’s trading standards team is warning shops found stocking and selling menthol tobacco products from tomorrow could face prosecutions and fines.
It could also be the perfect time for smokers to give up and the council has a variety of resources to help people kick the habit.
The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 created a managed exit from the market of menthol cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco products with characterising flavours like vanilla, fruit, spice, menthol. The legislation does not affect the sale of menthol cigarettes papers, cigars and cigarillos or e-liquids for vaping.
The ban on menthol cigarettes is the latest step in the government’s tobacco control strategy designed to reduce youth uptake of smoking and to encourage and support quitting amongst all smokers.
Menthol products are considered a mild gateway into long term smoking as it covers up the taste of tobacco making it more palatable and attractive.
Research shows menthol smokers on average smoke more than those smoking a non-flavoured alternative, there is a higher level of nicotine dependence and some perceive them to be less harmful than non-menthol cigarettes. In countries where menthol products have been banned there has been a reduction in uptake among children and young people.
The chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, who is leading the medical advice during the coronavirus public health crisis, has stated smokers could be at an increased risk of complications from the virus and encouraged those who smoke to consider giving up.
The council’s public health team offers significant support for anyone who lives, works or studies in Slough and wants to quit smoking.
There is the chance to get free online or telephone personal support and there is the addition of a stop smoking app called Quit with Bella. During the coronavirus pandemic, the service is offering tailored support through remote consultations online or by phone.
Cllr Pavitar K. Mann, cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “The announcement that menthol products were being banned was made four years ago so this will not come as a surprise to responsible shop owners.
“Slough’s trading standards team is advising retailers, who have not already done so, to remove all menthol cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco from tomorrow.
“There maybe the temptation to sell the last few packets of leftover menthol products but any found on retail premises could be seized and it could result in legal action.”
Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “I know from friends and family who have given up smoking that it can be a tough process but it’s worth it to be healthy for you and your family and to have good health in later life.
“At this critical time during the Covid-19 outbreak, the chief medical officer has warned that smokers are at increased risk of complications if they contract the virus.
“There is support in place if you need it on the Wellbeing Slough website www.healthandwellbeingslough.co.uk, by calling 0800 0614734, texting ‘quit’ to 66777 or use the Quit with Bella app.”
Any retailers with any questions can contact Slough trading standards via the website www.slough.gov.uk/business/trading-standards or call us on 01753 475111 and choose the regulatory services option.