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Table 2 Studies that report results related to hypothetical menthol bans

From: The actual and anticipated effects of a menthol cigarette ban: a scoping review

Author, Year Location Age group Study Design
Sample Size Ban Specifics (Implementation Date) Data Sources Main Outcomes Results
Buckell, J. 2019 [23] US 18–64 Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 2031 smokers and recently quit smokers Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes and menthol/flavored e-cigarettes Discrete choice experiment considering various combinations of menthol cigarette and menthol or fruit/sweet e-cigarette bans. Change in product choice shares Current and former smokers preferred cigarettes to e-cigarettes, but differences by age, race, and education exist. Banning menthol cigarettes would produce the greatest reduction in the choice of cigarettes (−5.2%), but with an accompanying increase in e-cigarette use (3.8%). Banning flavors, including menthol, in e-cigarettes without banning menthol cigarettes would result in an 8.3% increase in the use of combustible cigarettes and an 11.1% decline in e-cigarette use. Banning all flavors across all products would increase ‘opting-out’ the most (5.2%), but would also increase cigarette choice by 2.7%.
D’Silva, J. 2015 [24] Minnesota, US 18+ Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 1158 current menthol smokers (100+ cigarettes and smoked some or everyday with menthols as their usual brand) Hypothetical ban on menthol cigarettes Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey Cessation and product switching Nearly half (46.4%, [37.9, 54.9]) of menthol smokers responded that they would quit smoking. Approximately one-fourth of menthol smokers (26.6%, [19.0, 34.1]) reported that they would switch to non-menthol cigarettes; 12.3% [6.3, 18.3] would switch to menthol e-cigarettes, 5.8% [1.8, 9.7] would buy menthol cigarettes online, 2.8% [0.4, 5.2] would switch to some other menthol tobacco product, 2.7% [0.0, 6.0] would buy menthol cigarettes from another country, and 1.5% [0.0, 3.8] would switch to some other non-menthol tobacco product. African-American menthol smokers were more than twice as likely to report an intention to quit in the event of a ban (76.0%, [57.6, 94.3]) compared to their white counterparts (30.3%, [21.7, 38.9]) (RR = 2.5, [1.7, 3.6], p < .001).
Guillory, J. 2019 [25] US 18+ Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 1197 menthol smokers Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes RTI iShoppe virtual convenience store.
Four types of virtual ban: a) no ban; b) replacement of menthol cigarettes and ads with green versions; c) menthol cigarette ban; d) all menthol tobacco products ban.
Consumer behavior in response to bans, brand loyalty, and perceived response. Cigarette purchases were higher in the no ban (59%) and green conditions (59%) than the menthol cigarette ban (49%) and all menthol ban conditions (47%). Menthol cigarette purchases were highest in the no ban condition (50%). Other tobacco product (OTP) purchases were low across conditions, ranging from 16 to 17%, with 2–3% of all tobacco purchases being menthol e-cigarettes. Purchases of a substitute cigarette brand were highest in the menthol cigarette ban condition (61%) and the all menthol ban (60%).OTP purchases were similar across four scenarios, suggesting menthol bans may not increase OTP purchases.
Hartman, A. 2011 [22] US 18+ Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 10,441 (n= 2887 regular menthol smokers) Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes Tobacco Use Supplement-current Population Survey 2010 Cessation and product switching 39% of usual menthol users (30% of the smokers’ sample) reported they would quit and not switch to an alternative tobacco product. This included 40.6% of the 18–44 year-olds and 36.7% of the 45+. Women and non-Hispanic blacks report less intention to quit compared to men and non-Hispanic whites.
O’Connor, R. 2012 [26] US 14–65 Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 417 (n = 170 menthol users). Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes Global Market Institute, Inc. online survey panel, July 2010. Sample stratified smokers and non-smokers by age group Cessation and product switching More than 35% of menthol smokers reported the intention to quit smoking, 25% plan to seek out menthol cigarettes. Demand elasticity for non-menthol products in menthol smokers was 50% higher than for non-menthol smokers.
Pacek, L. 2019 [27] US 18–29 Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 240 (n = 126 menthol users) Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes (also considered low nicotine content cigarettes) Amazon Mechanical Turk survey, 2017. Dual (combusted and e-cigarette) users. Use of e-cigarettes in response to menthol cigarette ban Approximately 25% (aged 18–29) would plan to quit and 32.5% would reduce the amount smoked. Approximately 30% of menthol cigarette/e-cigarette dual users reported an intention to increase e-cigarette use following a menthol ban.
Pearson, J. 2012 [28] US 18+ Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 2649 Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes Data from the Knowledge Panel. Never, former and current smokers. Stratified by sex, ethnicity, age group, education, health status, intention to quit and quit attempts Attitudes towards menthol bans; cessation and product switching. Menthol smokers were more likely than non-menthol smokers to disagree with a menthol ban (50.5% vs. 31.2%; P < 0.001). 38.9% of menthol smokers said that they would quit, 13% would switch to a nonmenthol cigarette, 25% would switch to regular cigarettes and try to quit.
Rose, S. 2019 [29] US 18–34 Cohort
(Individual Intentions)
N = 806 Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort from 2011 to 2016 Cessation and product switching Switching to non-menthol cigarettes was most common post-ban intention (mean of 32.3% across multiple waves). 30.8% did not know what they would do in response to a menthol ban. 23.5% reported they would quit and 10.7% reported the intention to use an alternative tobacco product.
Wackowski, O. 2014 [30] US 18–34 Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 2871 (n = 619 menthol users) Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes National Young Adult Health Survey, 2011. Menthol smokers Cessation and product switching 64% would try to quit smoking, 18% would switch to non-menthol cigarettes, 15.7% would switch to OTP, and 1% didn’t know.
Wackowski, O. 2015 [31] US 18+ Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 519 (n = 187 menthol users) Hypothetical national ban on menthol cigarettes Online survey panel, April 2014. Stratified by ethnicity. Cessation and product switching 28.4% would try to quit smoking; 45.9% switch to nonmenthol cigarettes; 3.9% would switch to OTP; 15.1% would switch to menthol e-cigarettes.
Wackowski, O. 2018 [32] New Jersey, US 18–24 Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 45 (in 6 focus groups) Hypothetical ban on menthol cigarettes Focus groups from Dec 2014 to Mar 2015 Attitudes and perspective towards menthol cigarettes 59.1% indicated that either all (34.1%) or most (25%) of their first few cigarettes were mentholated.Easy accesses to loosies influenced menthol use (particularly among African Americans). Several people noted that they were willing to smoke a friend’s non-menthol cigarette if they didn’t have their cigarettes. Many participants were highly skeptical that a ban could be effective, believing that people would still find a way to get menthol cigarettes, either on the “black market” or by making bootleg versions.Some stated that a ban would not make much of an impact on them because they would just switch to non-menthol cigarettes. However, others thought a ban might motivate them to quit and increase their likelihood of doing so.
Zatoński, M. 2018 [33] Europe 18+ Cross-Sectional
(Individual Intentions)
N = 10,760 smokers (100+ cigarettes in their lifetime) Hypothetical ban on menthol cigarettes Smokers from 8 European countries from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Cessation and product switching When asked about their intended behavior following a hypothetical ban, most respondents reported intending to find menthol cigarettes regardless of the ban (27.3%; 95% CI 23.7–31.3), 20% reported an intention to switch to another product (95% CI 16.9–23.4), 17.6% reported an intention to reduce their smoking amount (95% CI 14.5–21.1), 16.0% reported an intention to quit (95% CI 13.3–19.2), and the remainder reported that they would ‘do something else’ or did not know.