With the new ban on menthol Cigarette in the US, how many smokers would quit cigarettes? A new study claimed that more than 1.3 million people will quit smoking and the greatest impact will be on Black smokers.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo led the study, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toronto and seven US universities.
The researchers evaluated the impact of Canada’s ban on menthol cigarettes, which came into force in 2017. They combined data from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) and the Ontario Menthol Ban Study, which surveyed people before and after the ban. Smokers of menthol cigarettes in Canada quit smoking at a rate of 22.3 per cent, compared to 15.0 per cent of non-menthol smokers. The difference of 7.3 per cent is highly statistically significant, the researchers evaluated.
Based on this, they projected that a US ban on menthol cigarettes would lead to an increase in quitting of 1,337,988 U.S. smokers. This was because 80 per cent of Black smokers smoked menthols when compared to about 35 per cent of US smokers overall. As such, the researchers said that the impact of a menthol cigarette ban in the U.S. would be proportionately greater for them. The projections are that 3,81,272 Black smokers would quit.
Lead author Geoffrey T Fong said that their study confirmed that Canada’s menthol cigarette ban led to substantial public health benefits. Geoffrey T Fong is professor of psychology and public health sciences at the University of Waterloo. Fong is also senior investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and principal investigator of the ITC Project. For more than a decade, public health experts, scientists, civil rights groups, and anti-tobacco organizations including the World Health Organizationhave called upon governments to ban menthol cigarettes. In addition to Canada, more than 30 other countries have banned menthol cigarettes, including all member states of the European Union. Menthol is added to cigarettes because it creates a cooling sensation that takes the edge off the harshness of cigarette smoke, making it easier to start smoking and facilitating addiction, all reasons why public health experts have called for a menthol ban.
The study came out in journal Tobacco Control.