Friday, 29 Sep 2023

Cigarette laws changing – and more on how the Budget will affect alcohol prices

New laws are set to come into force this May as part of the Government's plan to stop smoking in the UK completely.

Menthol cigarettes will be banned from UK stores, along with skinny cigarettes and rolling tobacco, from May 20, when the laws come into force.

The ban, stemming from new EU Tobacco Product Directive laws, is part of a bid to deter young people from taking up smoking by outlawing cigarettes with a 'characterising flavour' other than tobacco.

It's understood that these cigarettes encourage social smoking among young people – which the Government wants to put a stop to.

The plan to phase out flavoured cigarettes completely follows a ban on packs of 10 in May 2017.

Fruity-flavoured cigarettes and flavours including vanilla, spices and sweets were also banned by the law.

The charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said the latest changes will stop the production and sale of any filters, paper, packaging, capsules or other component containing flavouring in cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.

It also extends to 'technical features' which would allow consumers to modify the 'smell, taste, or smoke intensity' of the product.

Amanda Sandford, of ASH, said increasing the price of cigarettes and stopping the sale of smaller packets have made smoking less appealing.

She added that banning menthol cigarettes could deter more younger people from smoking, saying: "It is naturally hard to inhale smoke and for many the first time they smoke it is repugnant, but people persevere with it and that's when they become addicted.

"There is evidence that menthol cigarettes relax the airways and the flavour masks the harshness of the smoke, therefore younger people find it easier to smoke.

"However, it is an absolute myth that menthol cigarettes are better for you.

"All cigarettes are harmful and menthol cigarettes are just as dangerous as normal cigarettes.

Will the Budget 2020 affect cigarette and alcohol prices?

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The first Budget of Boris Johnson's majority government is less than one week away, when newly-appointed chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver the year's financial statement on March 11.

And it's the time of year when the Government will set out its so-called "sin taxes" on cigarettes and booze.

At the end of Budget day, any change in these duties will come into effect – usually at 6pm – and will most likely have an immediate impact on prices at shops and supermarkets.

The chancellor has special permission to drink alcohol during the speech, although the last one to do so was Kenneth Clarke, who had a whisky.

The Government is yet to announce what this year's sin tax announcements will be.

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