The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should extend the ban on menthol cigarettes to other products, like pipe tobacco and cigarette tubes, according to researchers at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies and Ohio State University, reports EurekAlert!.
“Tobacco companies have rebranded their roll-your-own cigarette tobacco as pipe tobacco to avoid taxes and rebranded flavored cigarettes as flavored cigars to skirt a federal ban,” said Andrea Villanti, deputy director of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies and co-principal investigator of a study published in Tobacco Control discussing the addiction potential of menthol cigarette alternatives. “We have already seen companies advertising pipe tobacco and cigarette tubes alongside cigarettes and filtered cigars. The products we tested in our study are likely to be products that tobacco companies will promote following a ban on menthol cigarettes.”
Research showed that mentholated pipe tobacco and tubes in a roll-your-own cigarette were the most appealing substitutes for menthol cigarettes and resulted in the highest number of indicators for future nicotine addiction. The proposed menthol ban does not include these products, however.
“The present findings suggest that components of menthol roll-your-own products, including menthol rolling papers, cigarette tubes and pipe tobacco, should be included in the menthol cigarette and flavored cigar product standards,” said Theodore Wagener, director of the Center for Tobacco Research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute and corresponding author of the study. “Their absence from this restriction will result in a critical loophole that is already being exploited by the tobacco industry and has the potential to lessen the potential public health benefits of the proposed menthol ban.”