Menthol is used in a variety of different tobacco products. Most cigarettes for sale today contain some menthol, but those marketed specifically as cigarettes flavored with menthol contain much more. When menthol is infused with tobacco, the inhalation is perceived with cooling sensations that reduce the harshness of the smoke taken in.
Over the last four years, and up until the ban in Europe for menthol-infused cigarettes was put in place, the rates of menthol-infused cigarette consumption skyrocketed in the U.K. These increases were due primarily to their appeal to younger buyers. They were also due to the interest in long-time smokers looking for tobacco products that seemed less harsh or that appeared to be healthier than regular cigarettes.
While menthol may lessen the intensity of the smoke upon inhalation, it increases the brain’s interaction with nicotine. As a result of these effects, cigarettes become more addictive. Tobacco companies, picking up on this fact, increased the amount of nicotine in menthol cigarettes to continue their sales growth. For additional insights on why menthol-infused cigarettes are so popular in the U.K., and to discover alternatives like Penthol that are available, continue reading.
Vulnerable Groups Are Specifically Targeted
Beyond the appeal, addictiveness, and sneaky tactics, tobacco companies used additional strategies to aggressively advertise their menthol-flavored cigarettes and products to targeted populations most likely to purchase and consume menthol cigarettes and related products. The targeted groups are young people, minority groups, and those with low income. The income level in Europe is much lower than in the U.S., suggesting that more people in the UK are likely to smoke menthol cigarettes.
Culture Influences Consumption Of Menthol Cigarettes
As of May 2020, menthol cigarettes have been banned in the U.K. to deter younger people between the ages of 16-19 from consuming them and starting up the habit of smoking. The ban was also implemented to decrease the number of people starting in general. Europeans are, on a cultural level, less bothered by tax controls for cigarettes than are citizens of the U.S. Europeans are used to paying higher taxes and are less bothered by these control implementations, making them less effective than they are in the U.S.
Europeans are also less immersed in anti-tobacco education than Americans. The message that smoking is harmful is simply less ingrained in Europe, and many Europeans already feel that the education put in place is enough.
The Ban Doesn’t Stop Cigarette Consumption
Additionally, although menthol cigarettes are banned, e-cigarette and vape products that contain menthol are not. Those who had a taste of menthol-infused cigarettes before the ban are now interested in purchasing menthol-infused tobacco product alternatives.
It’s Easy For Tobacco Companies To Target The U.K.
It is easy for tobacco companies to target the U.K., given the
high percentage of those with low incomes, the number of young people curious about the habit, and the ineffectiveness of European tax controls. Collectively, these factors have contributed to the popularity of menthol-infused cigarettes in the U.K.