MENTHOL cigarette vendors in Spain will be handed €10,000 fines later this year, it has been announced.
It comes as an EU ban on minty tobacco products comes into force on May 20 in a bid to deter youngsters from smoking.
The UK will still be subject to the new laws during the Brexit transition period, which ends on December 31.
In Spain it will be considered a ‘serious offense’ to sell menthol-infused tobacco products after May 20.
The €10,000 penalty is the maximum that could be issued to any tobacconist or any other licensed seller, including bars, which sells menthol tobacco after the specified date.
Around 66% of smokers take up smoking before they turn 18, according to Cancer Research UK.
Directive 2014/40/EU was imposed in Spain through Royal Decree 579/2017, which regulates the manufacture and marketing of tobacco, among other things.
The Commissioner for the Tobacco Market of the Ministry of Finance is set to take over the inspection of menthol tobacco, a duty currently performed by the Guardia Civil.
The General Directorate of Public Health will also assume responsibilities to ensure that each of Spain’s 17 regions complies with the ban.
It comes after tobacco giant Philip Morris, which owns Marlboro, among other brands, launched an unsuccessful appeal to the European Court of Justice to get the new law overturned.
“The regulations were lawful when they were promulgated by Parliament and they are lawful now in the light of the most up-to-date evidence,” said High Court judge Mr Justice Green.
The ban on menthol cigarettes is set to end their almost 100-year history in the EU.
They were invented by Lloyd ‘Spud’ Hughes in 1925, before the Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company acquired the patent in 1927.