1.3 million smokers may quit after FDA bans menthol cigarettes

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Scientists from the University of Waterloo predict that a U.S. ban on menthol cigarettes, proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will lead more than 1.3 million smokers to quit.

The research is published in the journal Tobacco Control and was conducted by Geoffrey T. Fong et al.

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Canada, the United States, and globally.

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.

In the study, the team evaluated the impact of Canada’s ban on menthol cigarettes, which came into force nationally 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.

The team found smokers of menthol cigarettes in Canada quit smoking at a rate of 22.3%, compared to 15.0% of non-menthol smokers. The difference of 7.3% is very big.

This confirms that Canada’s menthol cigarette ban led to substantial public health benefits.

To estimate the impact of a U.S. ban on menthol cigarettes, the study applied the effect the Canadian ban had on quitting to U.S. statistics on menthol smokers.

The study projected that a U.S. ban on menthol cigarettes would lead to an increase in quitting of 1,337,988 U.S. smokers.

Because 80% of Black smokers smoke menthols—compared to about 35% of U.S. smokers overall—the impact of a menthol cigarette ban in the U.S. would be proportionately greater for them.

The projections are that 381,272 Black smokers would quit after a U.S. ban on menthols.

These findings provide the foundation for the U.S. and other countries considering menthol cigarette bans to estimate the possible impact of such bans on reducing smoking.

If you care about smoking, please read studies that smoking may increase heart disease risk by 200%, and e-cigarette smoke may cause lung cancer, bladder disease.

For more information about smoking, please see recent studies about the first sign of heart disease for smokers, and results showing the cause of weight gain after smoking cessation.

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