One Year On: Assessing the Effects of a Menthol Cigarette Ban

Increase in percentage of those who attempted to quit at follow-up versus before ban implementation
Increase in percentage of those who attempted to quit at follow-up versus before ban implementation

HealthDay News — Implementation of a ban on menthol cigarettes results in an increase in those attempting to quit, and an increase in use of other flavored tobacco or electronic-cigarette use, according to a study published online March 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Michael Chaiton, PhD, from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit in Canada, and colleagues recruited 325 past-month smokers from September 12 through December 21, 2016. Participants were contacted for follow-up beginning 1 month after implementation of the menthol cigarette ban (January 1, 2017) through an online survey (206 were recontacted). 

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The researchers found that before the ban, 59.7% of menthol smokers said that they would switch to or only use nonmenthol cigarettes; at follow-up, only 28.2% had done so. In contrast, 29.1% attempted to quit at follow-up, compared with 14.5% who intended to do so before the ban. Compared with pre-ban plans (5.8%), a larger proportion (29.1%) reported using other flavored tobacco or e-cigarette products. Participants were less likely to anticipate using other flavored products after the ban. Of those who made a quit attempt, 80.0% of those who primarily smoked menthol cigarettes at baseline versus 25.6% of those who smoked menthol cigarettes only occasionally suggested that the ban affected their decision to quit.

"The initial results suggest that removing menthol tobacco from the market is a feasible strategy that may influence cessation behavior," the authors write.

One author served as a paid consultant in litigation against the tobacco industry, and is named on a patent application for a device that measures the puffing behavior of electronic cigarette users.

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