Review: Menthol Cigarette Bans Promote Smoking Cessation

In HealthDay News
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24 percent of menthol cigarette smokers quit smoking after menthol ban; 50 percent switch to nonmenthol cigarettes

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 22, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Menthol cigarette bans promote smoking cessation, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online Feb. 21 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Sarah D. Mills, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the impacts of banning the sale of menthol cigarettes at stores in a systematic review of the literature. Studies that assessed the impact of real-world or hypothesized menthol cigarette bans were included in the review.

A total of 78 studies were included in the review; the meta-analysis included 16 studies. The researchers found that after a menthol ban, cessation rates were high among menthol cigarette smokers. Pooled results showed that 24, 50, 12, and 24 percent of menthol cigarette smokers quit smoking, switched to nonmenthol cigarettes, switched to other flavored tobacco products, and continued smoking menthol cigarettes after a menthol ban, respectively. The hypothesized quitting and switching rates were quite close to rates from real-world studies. Tobacco industry attempts to undermine menthol bans were seen in some studies. Compared with local or state menthol bans, national menthol bans seemed more effective.

“This literature is an evolving area as more localities and countries implement menthol bans, the tobacco industry responds to the changing regulatory environment with new products, and the longer-term impacts of menthol bans emerge,” the authors write.

One author disclosed being a paid expert consultant representing plaintiffs in litigation against e-cigarette and tobacco companies.

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