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Ban on menthol-flavoured tobacco products predicts cigarette cessation at 1 year: a population cohort study

Abstract

Objectives The province of Ontario, Canada, banned the use of menthol-flavoured tobacco products as of 1 January 2017. The long-term impact of a menthol ban on smoking behaviour has not been previously evaluated.

Methods Population cohort study with baseline survey conducted September–December 2016 and follow-up January–August 2018 among residents of Ontario, Canada, 16 years old and over who reported current smoking (past 30 days) at baseline survey and completed follow-up (n=913) including 187 reporting smoking menthol cigarettes daily, 420 reported smoking menthol cigarettes occasionally, and 306 were non-menthol cigarette smokers. Relative rates of making a quit attempt and being a non-smoker at follow-up were estimated with Poisson regression controlling for smoking and demographic characteristics at baseline.

Results At follow-up, 63% of daily menthol smokers reported making a quit attempt since the ban compared with 62% of occasional menthol smokers and 43% of non-menthol smokers (adjusted relative rate (ARR) for daily menthol smokers compared with non-menthol smokers: 1.25; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.50). At follow-up, 24% of daily menthol smokers reported making a quit since the ban compared with 20% of occasional menthol smokers and 14% of non-menthol smokers (ARR for daily menthol smokers compared with non-menthol smokers: 1.62; 95% CI 1.08 to 2.42).

Conclusions The study found higher rates of quitting among daily and occasional menthol smokers in Ontario 1 year after the implementation of a menthol ban compared with non-menthol smokers. Our findings suggest that restrictions on menthol may lead to substantial improvements in public health.

  • tobacco products
  • smoking cessation
  • public policy
  • menthol ban
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