US ban on menthol cigarettes will lead more than 1.3 million smokers to quit

A new study predicts that a US ban on menthol cigarettes, proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration, will lead more than 1.3 million smokers to quit. Among them, black smokers will see the greatest impact.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo conducted the study, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toronto and seven US universities. To make the projection, the team assessed the impact of Canada’s ban on menthol cigarettes, which went into effect nationwide in 2017. They combined data from the International Policy Assessment Project Tobacco Control (ITC Project) and the Ontario Menthol Ban Study, which interviewed people before and after the ban. Menthol cigarette smokers in Canada quit smoking at a rate of 22.3%, compared to 15.0% of non-menthol smokers. The difference of 7.3% is statistically very significant.

Our study confirms that banning menthol cigarettes in Canada has resulted in substantial public health benefits. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Canada, the United States and around the world. »

Geoffrey T. Fong, Professor of Psychology and Public Health Sciences, University of Waterloo and lead author of the study

Fong is also a Principal Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Principal Investigator of the ITC Project.

To estimate the impact of a US ban on menthol cigarettes, the study applied the effect of the Canadian ban on smoking cessation to US statistics on menthol smokers. The study predicted that a US ban on menthol cigarettes would lead to an increase in quitting among 1,337,988 US smokers. Because 80% of black smokers smoke menthols; compared to about 35% of American smokers overall; the impact of a ban on menthol cigarettes in the United States would be proportionally greater for them. Projections are that 381,272 black smokers would quit after a US ban on menthols.

“These results provide the basis for the United States and other countries considering banning menthol cigarettes to estimate the possible impact of such bans on reducing smoking,” said Michael O. Chaiton, a scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Research Director at the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit and Principal Investigator of the Ontario Menthol Ban Study.

For more than a decade, public health experts, scientists, civil rights groups and anti-tobacco organizations, including the World Health Organization, have called on governments to ban menthol cigarettes. In addition to Canada, more than 30 other countries have banned menthol cigarettes, including all member states of the European Union.

Menthol is added to cigarettes because it creates a cooling sensation that lessens the harshness of cigarette smoke, making it easier to start smoking and making addiction easier, all of which are reasons why public health experts have called for a ban on smoking. menthol.


Journal reference:

Fong, GT, et al. (2022) Impact of Canada’s Menthol Cigarette Ban on Cessation Among Menthol Smokers: Pooled Analysis of Pre-Post Evaluation of the ITC Project and Ontario Menthol Ban Study and Projections impact in the United States. Tobacco control.

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