Given the success the UK has had in encouraging smokers to switch to vaping, the EU has been going in a much more draconian direction. The EU is pushing for multiple bans and heightening of tax rates.
One of the final impacts was the oversight of EU’s bans on all menthol tobacco products. The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) has conducted a broad survey to identify the changes in smoking behaviour resulting from the overall ban.
In May 2020, the EU introduced a ban of manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes in 26 countries, as well as the UK. The FSFW conducted two surveys to see if the ban had achieved its desired effect. The organisation looked at awareness of the ban, as well as intention to switch/quit, whilst also looking at actual behavioural habits post-introduction.
Despite the large scale advertising, only 71% of smokers stated that they were aware of a ban on menthol products was being introduced. On a similar note, after the ban only 74% were aware of it.
Initially, just 12% of smokers said the ban would make them give up traditional cigarettes. The survey looking at the overall impact showed that a disappointing 8% of volunteers stated that they had quit completely.
“Across the eight countries, an average of 40% of respondents indicated that they reduced their menthol cigarette consumption, but either continued or increased their consumption of non-menthol varieties. Other common actions taken as a result of the ban were: switching to menthol products not affected by the ban (18%); buying menthol cigarettes from other sources (13%); and buying products to manually add a menthol flavour to regular tobacco products (13%).”
The FSFW says the most unexpected outcome of the menthol ban was the relatively large number of smokers making the decision to find “mentholising” products to add to their cigarettes, such as flavour cards, filters, capsule tubes and sprays.
Their work has revealed one major issue. The EU had one job; reduce the smoking populous, and they failed miserably. While it’s fantastic that so many UK smokers have switched to vaping, the EU’s approach is just not working, as it’s doing more harm than good.
What do you think? Have the EU done a good job or can they do much better? Let us know in the comments.