• By The Financial District

Canada's Ban On Menthol Cigarettes Had More People Quitting

If the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to know whether it should follow through on its proposed menthol cigarette ban, it need only look to Canada for an answer, Amy Norton reported for HealthDay News.

Photo Insert: Canada's ban on menthol cigarettes seemed to drive more smokers to quit. as per a new study.

A new study finds that Canada's ban on menthol cigarettes seemed to drive more smokers to quit, with overall cigarette sales dipping after the law took hold. Researchers found that after menthol ban went into effect, sales of those cigarettes took an unsurprising plunge.

But there was also a reduction in overall cigarette sales of just below 5%, United Press International (UPI) also reported.

The findings suggest that the ban is having its intended effect, said lead researcher Michael Chaiton, of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit and the University of Toronto. In the US, where menthol cigarettes are far more popular, a similar ban could have an even greater impact, Chaiton noted.

Last April, the US FDA said it would seek to ban menthol cigarettes, though no effective date was given and no action has yet been taken. Other flavored cigarettes were banned in 2009. Tobacco companies add menthol to cigarettes because it has cooling properties and takes the edge off cigarette smoke's harshness.

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"It makes the poison go down easier," explained Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association. Public health advocates have long pushed for a menthol ban, citing the products as particularly insidious. That's partly because they appeal to kids, and act as a "starter product," Sward said.

And in the US, she added, cigarette companies have spent decades targeting people of color in their menthol product marketing.

Health & lifestyle: Woman running and exercising over a bridge near the financial district.

Sward, who was not involved in the new study, said it "provides valuable information" on what could happen if the United States follows through on a menthol cigarette ban. "Cigarette sales went down across the board, and that's important," she said. The findings were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.

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