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Canadian study links menthol bans with higher tobacco quit rates

As Columbus contemplates becoming the first city in Ohio to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes, data is starting to come in from areas that have implemented similar bans.

A new Canadian study has found that a ban on menthol has led to increased rates of quitting the use of tobacco products (Source: “Researchers find bans on menthol cigarettes sales can lead to higher tobacco quit rates,” WOSU Public Media, Nov. 14).

Menthol is a chemical tobacco companies began adding to cigarettes broadly in the 1950s, used to mask the harshness of cigarettes in efforts to expand the base of smokers.

The research found cigarette sales decreased by 11% and Canadians who smoked menthol cigarettes quit smoking at a rate of 22%, compared to 15% of non-menthol smokers. In Canada about 5% of smokers used menthols before the ban. But in the U.S., as many as 40% of smokers use menthols, and most Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, meaning a U.S. ban could lead to even greater increases in quitting.