Samuel Asare, principal scientist in tobacco control research at the American Cancer Society, suggested that banning menthol cigarettes is counterproductive to public health goals and called for better health equity.
“As the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] plans to eliminate menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes, interventions should address possible increases in cigarette smoking among Black females,” the research letter states.
The research showed that the menthol ban led to an 8.1 percent relative decrease in smoking among adults aged 25 and older, with the prevalence of current cigarette use dropping from 13 percent in 2019 to 12 percent in 2021. Part of this decrease was due to a 56.8 percent relative decrease in smoking among Black men. However, with a 58.6 percent relative increase in smoking among Black women and an equal prevalence of smoking among both genders in 2019, the menthol cigarette ban led to a net increase in smoking among Black adults in Massachusetts.