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Evaluation of Canada's Menthol Ban

Principal Investigator(s): Michael Chaiton

Funding Mechanism: NIH Grant

ID number: 1R21DA047358-01

Award Date: 9/1/2018

Institution: University of Toronto


Menthol cigarettes comprise a substantial portion of the American cigarette market, with prevalence estimates reaching about 25%. A US ban on menthol cigarettes would likely elicit changes in the behavior of menthol cigarette smokers and the tobacco industry. On January 1, 2017, the Province of Ontario implemented one of the first bans on menthol products worldwide; a full Canadian ban followed on October 1, 2017. The goal of this study is to conduct a long-term assessment of the menthol ban in Ontario to provide information about its potential impact. Study aims are: (1) to understand tobacco use behavior changes by pre-ban menthol smokers; (2) to characterize industry and sales changes subsequent to the ban; and (3) to explore how menthol cigarette smokers transition from menthol cigarettes to either smoking cessation/reduction or replacement tobacco products. To address these aims, researchers will follow up with of a cohort of 1,738 smokers aged 16 and older surveyed pre-ban to examine smoking behaviors and attitudes two years post-ban. Researchers will also conduct an analysis of administrative tobacco product sales data reported to Health Canada to examine changes in sales and changes in characteristics of products sold post-pan in Ontario and nationally. Finally, researchers will conduct a concept mapping study to supplement the self-reported data and administrative data with an in-depth understanding of user behavior. Findings will reveal menthol smoker and tobacco industry responses to a real-world menthol-flavored tobacco ban, which may inform future regulation and associated public education messaging.