Vaping News

Ontario’s Menthol Ban

Researchers look at the impact of the ban on menthol-flavoured cigarettes – vaping increased.

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Researchers analysing the impact of a year-old ban on menthol cigarettes has revealed that it increased the number of people looking to quit smoking and led to an uptake of vaping.

The lead author was Michael Chaiton, from Ontario’s Tobacco Research Unit. Chaiton worked with Robert Schwartz, Joanna Cohen, Eric Soule, and Thomas Eissenberg, representing the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and the Commonwealth University at Richmond.

Ontario implemented a full ban on menthol cigarettes at the outset of 2017, but prior to this study there had been no research to monitor if the action had changed smoking behaviours and intentions. A hypothetical set of predicted responses existed, but there was no guarantee that smokers would follow though with actual lifestyle changes.

The team recruited 325 people who admitted to being smokers at some point in the previous month. The team compared planned reaction to the ban, actual behaviour one month after the ban, and planned future reaction beyond the one month after the ban.

Before the ban, almost 60% of menthol smokers said that they intended to continue smoking by switching to or only using non-menthol cigarettes. The reality was that just 28% followed this course of action.

At the outset, 14.5% expressed that it was their intention to use the ban to try to give up smoking, but the direct result of placing a restriction on menthol cigarettes was that almost double that actually attempted to move away from tobacco.

Almost thirty percent of smokers informed the research tem that they had adopted either other forms of flavoured tobacco or had switched to vaping. It is a shame that the team decided to lump the use of electronic cigarettes in with a bracket containing tobacco use, as a clearer indication of vaping being a disruptive technology would have been welcome.

Six months in to the ban and the team reported that they found a 7.7% abstinence rate. They wrote: “this finding suggests that the ban substantially increased quit attempts. Few smokers used aftermarket additive flavourings, and there was no increase in the use of contraband tobacco.”

Consequently, they recommended: “The initial results suggest that removing menthol tobacco from the market is a feasible strategy that may influence cessation behavior, although differences between menthol users in Ontario, Canada, and other jurisdictions may affect the potential influence of a ban.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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