The European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has banned the manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes. Despite Brexit, this ban applies also to the UK and includes capsule, click on, click & roll, crushball or dual menthol cigarettes, and excludes vaping and heated tobacco products.
Malta’s Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci, said that penalties for anyone caught selling the products illegally, will be between €200 and €1,000, depending on the type of offence. “On a second or subsequent conviction, in addition to such fines, and, at the request of the prosecution, the person could be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. Besides these fines, there will be seizure of illegal products,” she said.
Restrictions on safer alternatives
Meanwhile, while bans on combustible cigarettes are welcomed by public health experts, TPD restrictions on safer alternatives have been raising concerns. Reports from the UK have indicated that harsh e-cig regulations have led to many former seasoned smokers who had switched to vaping, revert back to smoking.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) annual publication release in 2018, Adult Smoking Habits in Great Britain, with data for 2017, had pointed out that while smoking rates amongst young adults had dipped further, those for older adults had for the first time in years, increased slightly, as predicted.
The TPD is failing former smokers
Besides the bad publicity that e-cigarettes are subjected to, which naturally leads to many smokers being misinformed about the relative benefits of the devices, the TPD regulation banning sales of nicotine containing e-liquids above 20 mg/ml, has been making it hard for many smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.
It is a known fact that when smokers first turn to vaping, they first start with higher doses of nicotine to match the hit they were getting from their cigarettes, and then proceed to wean themselves slowly in order to curb their addiction. Therefore the ban on nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in that first step of a smoker’s journey to a smoke free life.