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Product Substitution after a Real World Menthol Ban: A Cohort Study

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Objectives: The province of Ontario, Canada banned menthol in cigarettes and other tobacco products effective January 1, 2017 thereby adding to an existing flavor ban. However, there was an exemption for all flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars larger than 6 grams, and alcohol flavored cigars without filters over 1.4 grams. In this paper, we examine the association between use of flavored non-cigarette products and self-reported cigarette smoking cessation after the ban. Methods: We recruited current past-30 day cigarette smokers (N = 913) who were 16 years or older and living in Ontario during September-December 2016 and re-contacted January-August 2018. Results: Both daily and occasional pre-ban menthol cigarette smokers were more likely to use flavored cigar products (adjusted relative rate, RR = 1.53, 95% confidence interval, CI = 1.01, 2.31; adjusted RR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.06, 2.30) after the ban, while occasional pre-ban menthol cigarette smokers were more likely to use other tobacco products (adjusted RR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.53) or flavored other tobacco products (adjusted RR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.09, 2.24), conditional on prior use. Conclusions: Menthol smokers prior to the ban were more likely to use other tobacco products, or flavored tobacco products, after the ban. These results suggest that comprehensive menthol bans could be more effective without the option of using flavored tobacco or nicotine products as substitutes.
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Keywords: CIGARETTES; CIGARS; FLAVORS; MENTHOL; POLICY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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