The role of communication research to support policy change: The US menthol ban
Byron MJ, Enyioha C, Goldstein AO.
A ban on menthol in combustible tobacco products has the potential to directly and dramatically affect the lives of the 19 million people who smoke menthol cigarettes in the US, including 85% of African American smokers.1 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gained authority over flavors in cigarettes in 2009 and was directed by law to form a Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee to review the state of the science on menthol and make a recommendation. The Committee concluded in 2011 that “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the US”.2 FDA then conducted its own review of the research on menthol, and in 2013 concluded that because of menthol’s impact on youth, addiction, and cessation, it is “likely that menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes”.3 These conclusions align with the robust evidence that menthol makes cigarettes more appealing to youth, facilitates progression to smoking,4 and makes cigarettes more addictive and harder to quit.5
Byron MJ, Enyioha C, Goldstein AO. The role of communication research to support policy change: The US menthol ban. Nicotine Tob Res. 2022 Nov 2:ntac249. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntac249. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36321785.