In the presence of a menthol ban, combined menthol and non-menthol cigarette smoking would decline by 15% until 2026.
Last April the FDA announced the long discussed ban on menthols, launching a consultation process which closed yesterday, on July 5th, 2022. A recent study published in BMJ’s Tobacco Control, concluded that a menthol ban would avoid 16,250 tobacco-related deaths per year by 2060. “This work is the culmination of a series of sequential projects aimed to assess the impact that a menthol ban could have on smoking, tobacco use and downstream health effects,” said study author Rafael Meza, a professor of epidemiology at U-M’s School of Public Health. “Our findings show that a menthol ban could result in considerable health gains and highlight the urgency for final approval and implementation of the ban.”

The findings were based on the data analysis and computational modeling infrastructure compiled as part of the Center for the Assessment of Tobacco Regulations. The research team used the Smoking and Vaping Model, a simulation model they had previously developed to study smoking and vaping behaviour with regards to menthol and non-menthol cigarettes.

They found that in the presence of a menthol ban, combined menthol and non-menthol cigarette smoking would decline by 15% until 2026. Deaths attributable to smoking and vaping were estimated to drop by about 5% and life-years lost by 8.8%. This would translate to 16,250 less deaths per year and 11 million life-years gained (almost 300,000 per year) over a 40-year period.

Meanwhile two weeks back, the FDA issued Juul a marketing denial order (MDO). The decision applies to “all of their products currently marketed in the United States,” forcing the manufacturer to completely exit the US market. “We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping,” stated FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf.

However in response to this, Juul filed an emergency motion at a federal appeals court asking the court to take a stance against an “extraordinary and unlawful action” by the FDA. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favour of Juul, allowing the products to remain on the market, at least for now.

Claims of a vaping epidemic are hugely exagerated

Meanwhile, a recent comprehensive review conducted by renowned anti-smoking researcher Professor Riccardo Polosa and colleagues, debunks fears that youth vaping may be causing an increase in youth smoking.

The review was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and concluded that the harm from teen vaping is greatly exaggerated. Discussing the findings on his blog page, renowned Australian tobacco harm reduction expert Dr. Colin Mendelsohn highlighted that the release of the review is timely given the regular alarmist media reports and government campaigns on vaping in Australia which have misinformed the public about the relative benefits and risks of vaping.

Conducted by award winning tobacco researcher Dr. Ricardo Polosa, the review analysed teen vaping rates in the US, where local authorities have repeatedly claimed that local consumption rates have reached epidemic proportions, and found that such claims are greatly exaggerated.

Read Further: GPB

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