Menthol & flavoured tobacco

A growing number of jurisdictions are banning flavoured tobacco in an effort to reduce smoking initiation among young people. However, many jurisdictions have exempted menthol from flavour bans, which, in most countries, is the most popular flavour. To date, only two jurisdictions have committed to prohibiting menthol: Brazil and the European Union.

We recently examined the use of flavored tobacco products in Canada. In 2010, Canada prohibited most flavours in cigarettes, with the exception of menthol. The study consisted of a nationally representative sample of more than 31,000 Canadian students in grades 9 through 12. Approximately 52% of young tobacco users used flavored products in the previous 30 days. Flavored tobacco use varied by product type and ranged from 32% of cigarette smokers reporting menthol smoking to 70% of smokeless tobacco users reporting using flavored product in the previous 30 days. Overall, the suggest that the flavour ban has had little or no impact on reducing rates of flavoured tobacco use among youth. Indeed,  more than half of tobacco users in grades 9 through 12 in Canada use flavored tobacco and menthol use was approximately 6 times higher among youth smokers compared to estimates of menthol use among adults.
Read the full paper here→

A second paper using the same data set examined teh association between menthol use and smoking intensity among youth. The unadjusted average number of cigarettes reported by menthol smokers was 6.9 compared with 4.6 among non-menthol smokers.  Similar results were found using the total number of cigarettes smoked in the past week. Additionally, menthol smokers had greater odds of reporting intent to continue smoking compared with non-menthol smokers. Overall, the findings of this study along with existing evidence suggest the need for banning mentholated tobacco products in Canada, in part because of its significant effect on adolescent smoking.
Read the full paper here→

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