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Invited Commentary
May 2018

Local Movement to Ban Menthol Tobacco Products as a Result of Federal Inaction

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Department of Medicine, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, San Francisco, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(5):711-713. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0053

The article by Chaiton et al1 in this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine is the first empirical confirmation that banning the sale of menthol tobacco products is good for public health. The investigators surveyed individuals in Ontario, Canada, who smoked menthol cigarettes before and 1 month after the province implemented a full menthol cigarette ban on January 1, 2017. They found that 40% of menthol smokers attempted to quit smoking and 12% succeeded, substantial increases over historical levels and higher than the percentage who predicted that they would try to quit before experiencing the ban. In addition, they found that a larger proportion (29%) reported using other flavored tobacco or e-cigarette products (menthol was not banned in e-cigarette products) compared with preban self-predictions (6%).