In the presence of a menthol ban, combined menthol and nonmenthol cigarette smoking would decline by 15% by 2026.
Titled, “Association of Cigarette Sales With Comprehensive Menthol Flavor Ban in Massachusetts,” the study reported that sales of all cigarettes in Massachusetts declined by up to 33% after a ban on menthol-flavoured cigarettes went in effect.
Over the same time period reported the study, cigarette sales in 33 states that did not set in place a menthol flavour ban fell by 8%, while sales of menthol-flavored cigarettes declined by 3%, said the researchers. “We learn from Massachusetts that a menthol flavor ban effectively reduces both menthol and overall cigarette sales,” said study co-author Samuel Asare as quoted by UPI.
Supporting this data, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that banning menthol flavoured cigarettes could reduce smoking by leading many smokers to quit or switching to less harmful nicotine products. Published in BMJ’s Tobacco Control, this 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.
11 million life-years could be gained
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.
“Recent evidence finds that a menthol ban would likely increase smoking cessation, with more limited evidence of reducing smoking initiation and switching from smoking to other products like e-cigarettes,” said lead study author David Levy, a professor of oncology at Georgetown University.