Titled, ‘”I think it’s a good idea for the people that’s young, the kids, but for someone like me it’s a bad idea.” – Interviews about a U.S. menthol cigarette ban with people who smoke menthol cigarettes,’ the current study was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The research team conducted interviews with 35 menthol smokers. They asked them about (1) menthol cigarette risk perceptions; (2) knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of menthol cigarette regulations; and (3) anticipated behavior if menthol cigarettes were banned.
The answers gathered suggested that many participants actually thought menthol cigarettes carried more health risks than non-menthols. Some believe that the FDA wants to ban them due to their appeal to youth, while others thought the ban would be a positive stride forward for public health.
On the otherhand, some of the participants were skeptical saying that banning menthols, whilst leaving regular cigarettes on the market would not make make much difference. Other participants said that if menthols were banned they would just switch to other products such as vapes, while others thought a menthol ban may motivate them to quit smoking.
Menthol bans work
Another recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that banning menthol flavoured cigarettes could reduce smoking by 15%, by leading many smokers to quit or switching to less harmful nicotine products.
Published in BMJ’s Tobacco Control, the study concluded that a menthol ban would avoid 16,250 tobacco-related deaths per year by 2060. “This work is the culmination of a series of sequential projects aimed to assess the impact that a menthol ban could have on smoking, tobacco use and downstream health effects,” said study author Rafael Meza, a professor of epidemiology at U-M’s School of Public Health. “Our findings show that a menthol ban could result in considerable health gains and highlight the urgency for final approval and implementation of the ban.”
The findings were based on the data analysis and computational modeling infrastructure compiled as part of the Center for the Assessment of Tobacco Regulations. The research team used the Smoking and Vaping Model, a simulation model they had previously developed to study smoking and vaping behaviour with regards to menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes.
They found that in the presence of a menthol ban, combined menthol and nonmenthol cigarette smoking would decline by 15% by 2026. Deaths attributable to smoking and vaping were estimated to fall by about 5% and life-years lost by 8.8%—translating to 16,250 deaths per year averted and 11 million life-years gained (almost 300,000 per year) over a 40-year period.