The menthol ban and mint nicotine pouches
The date is approaching – menthol cigarettes are to become a thing of the past. On May 20, the menthol ban is finally enforced. How does this affect nicotine pouches? And what is menthol?
From 20 May 2020, a ban on menthol cigarettes will be introduced throughout the EU. This means that these products are removed from the shelves in stores, kiosks and online retailers, including click cigarettes and rolling tobacco with a “characterising flavour” of menthol.
Why ban menthol cigarettes?
The menthol ban stems from new EU Tobacco Product Directive laws. It is part of an effort to prevent young people from smoking and reduce the number of people taking up the habit. The ban covers all 27 EU member states.
The vast majority of tobacco brands in the EU sell menthol-based products in the form of cigarettes or rolling tobacco. In connection with the new legislation, tobacco products can no longer contain flavouring substances that give the product a "characteristic" taste of menthol. This applies primarily to menthol cigarettes but also to rolling tobacco and so-called click dual flavoured cigarettes, i.e. cigarettes that are flavoured via a pressure function in the filter.
However, nicotine pouches can still get flavoured! Let’s take a closer look at what menthol (mint in everyday speech) is and how to extract it.
What is mint?
The basis of menthol, or mint, is an alcohol extracted from the plant peppermint or from mint oils. Peppermint oil contains about 50 percent menthol and it is extracted by freezing the oil to obtain menthol crystals. When these have been distilled, colourless, brittle crystals with a strong peppermint scent and a cooling, aromatic taste are obtained.
In your mouth, there are a multitude of receptors that respond to everything that is above and below normal temperature. However, with certain chemical compounds, the receptors can also react to normally tempered things.
The chemical compounds, in this case menthol/mint, bind to the receptors and thus make them feel cold. Among the things that make the receptors feel warm include pepper (piperine) and chili (capsaicin).
Every year around 10,000 tonnes of peppermint are grown worldwide. Morocco accounts for over 90 percent of all production. Argentina finishes second, while Spain, Bulgaria and Georgia share about half a percent.