In this paper, we highlight key issues that policymakers should consider when developing a product standard banning menthol and other flavours in tobacco products based on research evidence and experiences learnt from other countries. A flavour product standard may be optimised by (1) having a clear and comprehensive definition of flavour that includes a complete ban on additives that have flavour properties and/or evoke sensory/cooling effects (ie, menthol analogues and synthetic coolants that stimulate the cooling receptor of the brain) rather than only as a ‘characterising flavour’ and (2) applying the standard to all tobacco product categories as well as all components or parts of the tobacco product (ie, the tobacco, filter, wrapper or paper), including separate flavourings that can be added to the product.
- Public policy
- Tobacco industry
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Contributors CNK and GTF contributed equally to the conceptualisation and initial drafting. All authors contributed to reviewing and editing the final manuscript.
Funding The preparation of this paper was supported in part by grants from the US National Cancer Institute (P01CA200512) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (FDN-148477). Additional support to GTF was provided by a Senior Investigator Award from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the O. Harold Warwick Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society. CNK is funded by the Imperial College London President’s PhD Scholarships, which is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of any of the funding sources.
Competing interests GTF has served as a paid expert witness or consultant for governments defending their country’s policies or regulations in litigation. He served as a member of the Brazil Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) 2014 Working Group on Tobacco Additives. He has also served as a member of the Expert Group for Article 9 (Regulation of the contents of tobacco products) and Article 10 (Regulation of tobacco product disclosures) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. CNK worked on the Single Framework Contract for the provision of services to support the assessment of characterising flavours in tobacco products in the European Union (EUREST-FLAVOURS, Chafea/2016/Health/36) and was a consultant for testing for menthol characterising flavour in cigarettes notified for sale on the United Kingdom domestic market (Public Health England/Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Department of Health and Social Care). All other authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.