A study published in BMJ’s Tobacco Control earlier this year, 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. To this effect last April, the FDA announced the long discussed ban on menthols, launching a consultation process which closed earlier this month on July 5th, 2022.

However, New Jersey’s Assembly Health Committee seems keen on taking matters in their own hands and have just voted in favour of the statewide ban on the sale of menthol products, under which violators would face fines of up to $1,000. The proposed rule still has to clear the state Assembly and Senate before heading to the governor’s desk to be signed off.

Cannabis legalization

In other news, In 2021 New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a package of “historic adult-use cannabis reform bills,” legalizing marijuana across the State. “Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis,” said Murphy in a statement at the time.

“Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible.”

“This November, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly in support of creating a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market. Although this process has taken longer than anticipated, I believe it is ending in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model,” he said.

Read Further: Inside Sources

The FDA’s Proposed Menthol Ban 

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