HealthDay News — Extending the U.S. cigarette flavor ban to include menthol products could promote smoking cessation and reduce initiation, according to a review published online July 9 in BMC Public Health.

Christopher J. Cadham, M.P.H., from the Georgetown University-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted a scoping review to identify studies evaluating the impact of a hypothetical or implemented menthol cigarette ban on individual behaviors (initiation, cessation, and product switching), sales, and compliance.

The researchers identified 24 studies examining the effects of implemented menthol bans (six), hypothetical menthol bans (12), and implemented flavor bans that exclude menthol (six). Based on these studies, the researchers note that menthol bans were found to reduce sales and increase smoking cessation with only partial substitution for nonmenthol cigarettes. In response to a hypothetical ban, the results indicate that about 25 to 64 percent of U.S. smokers would attempt to quit smoking and 11 to 46 percent would consider switching to other tobacco products, including 15 to 30 percent saying they would consider electronic cigarettes. Flavor ban studies indicate reductions in initiation of 6 percent. While ban compliance was high, some studies indicate that the impact is minimized by the tobacco industry and retailers attempting to circumvent restrictions via packaging changes and online sales.

“This evidence supports further action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration towards mentholated tobacco products,” the authors write.


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