The sale of menthol cigarettes will be banned in the Republic of Ireland from Wednesday.
Health Minister Simon Harris said the purpose of the ban is to ensure that cigarette and tobacco products for sale can no longer include ingredients that would make smoking “more palatable”.
Minister Harris said: “Smoking is an addictive and lethal habit.
“The pleasant taste of menthol masks the true taste of tobacco and might attract first-time smokers or keep people smoking who might wish to quit.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to quit.”
On May 11 the World Health Organisation said that a review of studies by public health experts found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with Covid-19, compared to non-smokers.
The prohibition is contained in the EU (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 made by the Minister in 2016.
The Regulations transposed the 2014 EU Tobacco Products Directive into Irish law.
The ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes is a “gross restriction on consumer choice that will do nothing to stop children smoking”, a campaign group said.
John Mallon, spokesman for the smokers’ group Forest Ireland, said: “The ban on menthol cigarettes is a gross restriction on consumer choice that will do nothing to stop children smoking.”
Mr Harris urged everyone who is thinking about quitting to contact the Health Service Executive (HSE) Quit Smoking service for support.