According to foreign reports, the Irish government hopes to strengthen the EU ban on menthol cigarettes four months ago to prevent tobacco companies from evading the ban. The health services executive board (HSE) is investigating tobacco companies on this issue.
It is reported that the EU launched the measure on May 20 to help children quit smoking.
JTI acknowledged that it still added some menthol to its products, including a new silk cut choice green, one of a series of new brands introduced into the Irish market after the ban. However, JTI insists on full compliance with the ban because it claims that the additive will not give its new brand flavor or menthol odor.
JTI’s new brands accounted for 5% of Ireland’s 1.8 billion euro (US $2.12 billion) cigarette market in the first month, according to industry data.
HSE said in June that it would work with European authorities on the issue after anti smoking groups and rival tobacco companies dropped complaints about menthol mixtures.
Across Europe, tobacco companies have been introducing alternatives to their discontinued menthol brand. However, governments have criticized tobacco companies for trying to circumvent the ban.
Stephen Donnelly, the health minister, said the directive was being reviewed at the EU level and said he would strongly support any amendment to the directive to ensure that the provisions relating to the menthol ban are “strong.”.
Before the ban, the market value of Irish Mint cigarettes was 250 million euros.