The US Food and Drug Administration concluded that a ban on menthol cigarettes would likely elicit a reduction in cigarette consumption, increased cessation and reduced initiation of smoking. Understanding how the tobacco industry prepared for a menthol ban in Ontario, Canada—a province with some 2 million smokers—can be useful to jurisdictions preparing similar bans. One previous menthol ban study found menthol replacement packs with the word ‘menthol’ replacing the word ‘green’ and with cellophane wrappers with the wording ‘smooth taste (redesigned) without menthol’.
Ontario’s ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, first announced in May 2015, took effect on 1 January 2017. As the first phase of a pre–post ban study that aims to understand changes in cigarette packaging and product in response to the menthol ban, from mid-October to mid-November 2016, just prior to the ban, we purchased samples of every available menthol tobacco product in eight retail outlets in Toronto, Ontario (two chain, two independent, two gas stations) randomly sampled from an administrative list stratified by neighbourhood material deprivation index. To guide our purchases, we used a list of menthol cigarettes that were sold in Ontario as of May 2016, provided by Health Canada. Two research staff asked vendors for one of each type of menthol, capsule and green coloured or labelled packaged cigarette brands available. In total, we collected 30 unique packs.
We compared the packs collected to Health Canada’s 2016 list and to a similar 2014 Health Canada list to ensure that we had purchased all menthol packs available and to identify more recently introduced products. We conducted content analysis.
Results reveal substantial changes.Author(s): Robert Schwartz, Michael Chaiton, Tracey Borland, and Lori Diemert
Date: September 2017
Type of Publication: Journal Article