When were cigarettes sold?

Ban on menthol in cigarettes and smoking tobacco

Health risks from smoking

04 Jun 2020

Since May 20, 2020, menthol cigarettes are no longer allowed to be sold in the EU. In Germany, any use of menthol as an additive in cigarettes and smoking tobacco products such as cigarillos or water pipe tobacco is prohibited. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) welcomes the ban as a success for consumer health protection and has issued a report on the health risks posed by tobacco.

Menthol in tobacco products is now finally banned. © NtDanai - AdobeStock

Menthol covers the tobacco taste and triggers a sensation of cold by activating certain receptors. Warning body symptoms of cigarette smoke, such as scratching the throat and coughing, which are based, among other things, on cigarette ingredients such as aldehydes (e.g. formaldehyde) and irritant gases such as ammonia, are suppressed. This makes cigarette smoke easier to inhale. This also makes it easier to start consuming cigarettes. According to the BfR, menthol cigarettes have proven to be particularly dangerous for young people, who are often still in the initial phase of getting used to them.

As early as 2015, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment pointed out the effects of menthol in its “Health Risk Assessment for Additives for Tobacco Products and Electronic Cigarettes”. In the statement at that time, the BfR assessed the health risks of tobacco additives that can suppress the body's own warning stimuli, as well as their effects on the potential for addiction. The end of menthol in smoking tobacco is a success of the BfR's scientific work, according to the current report. The ban on menthol cigarettes was announced in 2016, followed by a four-year transition period, which has now ended.

Health evaluation of smoking

The health assessment of tobacco products, water pipes and e-cigarettes and the scientific advice of the federal government on questions of food, chemical and product safety are among the core tasks of the BfR. The Federal Institute generally points out that the Cigarette consumption poses a major problem for consumer health protection. In addition to diseases such as bladder, larynx or Lung cancer Smoking cigarettes also increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, vascular diseases (smoker's leg) and the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD.

Further information on the subject can be found at the BfR here:


Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: Off for menthol in cigarettes and smoking tobacco. Message from May 29th, 2020