Where menthol cigarettes alone are banned, a 4.8% reduction in smoking rates may be expected.
Studies pertaining to flavoured tobacco and nicotine products, have clearly outlined what public health experts have been pointing out all along. Where menthol cigarettes alone are banned, a 4.8% reduction in smoking rates may be expected, as most smokers would either switch to e-cigarettes, or quit nicotine consumption altogether.

On the other hand, if flavours are to be banned for vaping products and allowed in regular cigarettes, as seems to be the current trend in the US, vaping would decline by over 10%, and many former smokers would go back to smoking regular cigarettes, leading to an increase in cancer and mortality rates.

Concerned with the drop in cigarette sales, not public health

Naturally, public health is not at the top of the BCSOA’s priority list, and instead of trying to adapt to selling alternative products, the group is complaining about the decrease in cigarette sales. Speaking on behalf of convenience store owners at the State House on October 8, 2020 in Boston, the association’s secretary Humayan Morshed, said that business owners are struggling due to low cigarette sales.

Showing undercover footage of illicit street sales of menthol cigarettes, he added that ban on menthol cigarettes has set the stage for a thriving black market “on every corner of the city.” “The biggest problem facing us right now is people going out of state, buying cigarettes, coming in front of stores and selling,” said Morshed.

In the US there is no nationwide menthol ban. In contrast, the European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has banned the manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes across Europe. This ban includes capsule, click on, click & roll, crushball or dual menthol cigarettes, and excludes vaping and heated tobacco products. The measure went into effect on the 20th of May, and anyone caught selling the products across the EU could face a fine of up to €1,000.

The US obsesses on flavoured vapes and ignores menthols

Meanwhile, as the US remains primarily focused on banning e-cigarettes, it has ironically so far retained a relaxed stance towards the much deadlier products. For example, a legislation to ban all flavoured vaping and tobacco products in Colorado has been amended to allow the sales of menthol cigarettes.

Similarly, New Jersey lawmakers have halted efforts to stop sales of menthol cigarettes, to instead focus their efforts on a bill that bans flavours in vaping products. While Vermont lawmakers have passed a ban on flavoured tobacco and vaping products, the tobacco industry did its utmost to block the part of the bill which would ban menthols.

Read Further: Boston Herald

US: Over 60 Organizations Urge The FDA to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

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