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Tobacco industry tactics in preparing for menthol ban
  1. Robert Schwartz,
  2. Michael Chaiton,
  3. Tracey Borland,
  4. Lori Diemert
  1. Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Toronto, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert Schwartz, University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of PublicHealth, Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 155 College St., Ste 540, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7, Canada; robert.schwartz{at}

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Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number FP00003667.

The US Food and Drug Administration concluded that a ban on menthol cigarettes would likely elicit a reduction in cigarette consumption, increased cessation and reduced initiation of smoking.1 Understanding how the tobacco industry prepared for a menthol ban in Ontario, Canada—a province with some 2 million smokers—can be useful to jurisdictions preparing similar bans. One previous menthol ban study2 found menthol replacement packs with the word ‘menthol’ replacing the word ‘green’ and with cellophane wrappers with the wording ‘smooth taste (redesigned) without menthol’.

Ontario’s ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, first announced in May 2015, took effect on 1 January 2017. As the first phase of a pre–post ban study that aims to understand changes in cigarette packaging and product in response to the menthol …

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  • Contributors RS and MOC conceived the study and the analysis plan. TB and LD purchased the cigarette packages and did an initial data extraction. RS conducted the in-depth analysis and drafted the manuscript. MOC, TB and LD reviewed the manuscript and provided input to its finalisation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Researchers wishing to view the actual cigarette packs may contact the corresponding author RS to arrange.