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Menthol Bans / Smoking Cessation

2021: The Impact of Menthol Cigarette Flavor in the U.S.: Cigarette and ENDS Transitions by Sociodemographic Group

  • CONCLUSIONS: Given the prevalence and the patterns of transition between menthol and nonmenthol smoking and ENDS that were identified, a ban on menthol in combustible tobacco products has the potential to address the health disparities in NHBs (non-Hispanic Blacks) and other groups. A menthol ban in combustible tobacco products may be the policy tool—short of banning tobacco products entirely—with the most potential for substantial impact on smoking prevalence and thus tobacco-related health outcomes, particularly if paired with high-quality cessation programs and thoughtful regulation of the ENDS marketplace.

2020: Paper: Intended and Unintended Effects of Banning Menthol Cigarettes

  • Menthol bans significantly increased non-menthol cigarette smoking among youths, resulting in no overall net change in youth smoking rates.
  • Menthol bans shifted smokers’ cigarette purchases away from grocery stores and gas stations to First Nations reserves (where the menthol bans do not bind).
  • PDF Full Paper

Abuse Liability / Addiction

2018 Assessment of the abuse liability of three menthol Vuse Solo electronic cigarettes relative to combustible cigarettes and nicotine gum

  • These findings are concordant with our previous results and provide evidence that menthol Vuse Solo ECs have abuse liability that is lower than menthol cigarettes and potentially greater than that of nicotine gum.
  • PDF Version


2021: A Menthol Cigarette Ban Would Perpetuate the Racist War on Drugs

Alternative Markets

2021: Vermont’s Dilemmas in Bid to Ban Both Flavored Vapes and Menthol Cigarettes

  • The implications are two-fold: First, a ban on menthol cigarettes, as we’ve seen with prohibitions of flavored vapes in Massachusetts and New York, would probably force consumers to an illicit market where they use these products without regulatory protections; and second, such laws would be enforced, potentially increasing the number of interactions between police and people of color.

???? - Black Law Enforcement Group Questions FDA Menthol Ban

  • “NOBLE has serious concerns about the unintended consequences of a ban, which we believe would precipitate a robust and troubling illicit market. The possibility of a ‘black market’ economy in menthol cigarettes demands study,” said Jessie Lee, NOBLE executive director, in a press statement. “We urge the Advisory Committee to properly study the potential ramifications of banning menthol.
  • Le continued, “NOBLE is also concerned that enforcement activities could lead to inequities in law enforcement in African American communities.”

2020, Jul 9 - Orange County Coalition of Police & Sheriff’s (OC Cops)

  • "While I’m sure your goals are well intended, the 100% ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco (exception for hookah) products to adults makes impracticable sense and it will multiply an already large illegal market in California, reward criminal smugglers, and cost California businesses, workers, and taxpayers billions of dollars. Banning flavored products will further criminal smuggling and tax evasion problems."

2019, Dec 18 - Banning flavored tobacco will create problems for law enforcement, ex-State Police leader says

  • I believe that New Jersey’s flavor ban legislation is a well-intended health policy that unfortunately is at odds with public safety. It opens a back door to the creation of interstate smuggling organizations and spurs the growth of illegitimate local markets profiting from the sale of outlawed tobacco products. For law enforcement, concerns are very real. And they’re not just blowing smoke.

2019, Nov 4 - Flavor ban will feed illegal tobacco sales, stores say

  • A retired federal law enforcement officer joined convenience store owners Wednesday to caution against legislation banning menthol cigarettes, which he said would lead to an increase in crime and divert resources away from fighting the opioid epidemic.
  • “I’m not here to talk about smoking, I’m here to talk about crime. Because that’s what’s going to happen right now if we begin these flavor bans and we begin attacking the marketplace,” Rich Marianos, who served 27 years at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said at a City Hall Plaza rally.

Loopholes / Workarounds

2020: Article: Tobacco firm’s new Rizla cards to get round 2020 menthol cigarette ban slammed by charity

  • Imperial Tobacco launched Rizla Flavour Infusions - ‘cards’ that can be used to add a menthol flavour to traditional tobacco products.

2020: Video: Turning heatsticks/cigarettes into menthol

  • How to video that teaches consumers how to use menthol crystals to flavor non-menthol tobacco products

2015: Video: Smoking tips how to make Cigarettes taste menthol

  • This resourceful user of tobacco products demonstrates using flavored cough drops to make her cigarettes taste like menthol

2011: Video: Flavoring Shredded Tobacco

  • Another how to video to show consumers how to flavor tobacco products. The creator of this video used water, glycerin, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and cocoa.