Germany is seeking to ban menthol e-liquids along with a variety of other flavours when it enforces the European Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) this May.
All countries in the EU will have to ban menthol cigarettes altogether from 2020, however decisions over whether to ban certain flavours of e-liquids have been left up to individual member states.
The UK government has not, at this point, revealed plans to exercise its discretionary powers to ban menthol e-cigs, however it is likely to keep a close watch on developments in Germany.
A number of new EUTPD rules will impact the UK e-cig market from November 2016, including a requirement for all products to carry the warning: ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.’ The sell-through period for retailers with existing stock will be a period of six months to May 2017.
In the UK, menthol cigarettes are thought to account for about 10% of all cigarette sales, but within the electronic cigarettes market the share of sales is significantly higher, with many retailers citing menthol as one of their top-selling e-liquid flavours.
Menthol has long been a target of tobacco control because of suggestions “that it is more enticing to potential new smokers than the taste of tobacco,” according to website ecigintelligence.com.