Use of Menthol Cigarettes and Accessories Among Youth Who Smoked After the Menthol Cigarette Ban in England and Canada, 2021: Implications for Health Equity

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Nicotine Tob Res. 2024 May 31;26(Supplement_2):S133-S142. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntad112.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study examined menthol cigarette use among youth who smoked, after menthol cigarette bans were implemented in England (May 2020) and Canada (October 2017).

AIMS AND METHODS: Cross-sectional data come from 2021 ITC Youth Tobacco and Vaping Survey respondents aged 16-19 who smoked in the past 30 d in England (N = 715) and Canada (N = 419). Adjusted logistic regression models, estimated separately for each country, examined sociodemographic correlates of usually smoking menthol cigarettes (reporting currently most often smoking menthol cigarettes) overall, and by past 30-d use of any menthol accessories (e.g., filters, capsules). Youth reported the cigarette variety they smoked most often, coded as menthol or nonmenthol.

RESULTS: Almost no youth who smoked in the past 30 d reported most often smoking a cigarette variety coded as menthol. However, 34.5% (95% CI: 30.4% to 38.9%) of youth who smoke in England and 30.9% (26.0%-36.3%) in Canada reported usually smoking menthol cigarettes, with greater odds of use among those identifying as black, or other race/ethnicity, respectively, compared to white in England (60.0%, aOR = 3.08, p = .001; 47.4%, aOR = 2.27, p = .011) and Canada (43.6%, aOR = 2.44, p = .046; 51.2%, aOR = 2.92, p = .001). Among those who reported usually smoking menthol cigarettes in England (N = 223) and Canada (N = 108), 71.7% (64.0%-78.2%) and 51.5% (41.1%-61.7%) reported using menthol accessories.

CONCLUSIONS: After menthol cigarette bans in England and Canada, approximately one-third of youth who smoked reported usually smoking menthol cigarettes, with disproportionately higher use among those identifying as black and other race/ethnicity. Menthol accessories accounted for most menthol cigarette use. Closing regulatory loopholes is critical to advancing public health equity.

IMPLICATIONS: Use of menthol cigarette accessories (eg, filters, cards, capsules) among youth who smoked was prevalent after implementation of menthol cigarette bans in England and Canada, and there was disproportionately higher use among those who identified as black and any other race/ethnicity. Efforts are therefore required to close regulatory loopholes of menthol cigarette bans. Findings further support countries, such as the United States, proposing menthol cigarette bans which extend coverage to accessories. More comprehensive menthol bans that also restrict accessories are likely to be more effective in reducing flavored tobacco use among young people and in advancing health equity.

PMID:38817031 | DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntad112