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Menthol Cig Ban Didn't Spur Black Market Sales: Study
-- Robert Preidt

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A ban on menthol cigarettes in one Canadian province did not trigger a rise in the sales of illegal cigarettes that was predicted by the tobacco industry, a new study shows.

When Nova Scotia became the first jurisdiction in the world to ban menthol cigarettes in May 2015, the tobacco industry claimed that "the primary effect of this law will be to increase the illegal tobacco market in Nova Scotia."

To determine if that was true, study author Michal Stoklosa, an economic and health policy research scientist at the American Cancer Society, analyzed Nova Scotia government data from 2007-2008 to 2017-2018.

His study found a large decrease in the number of seized illicit cigarettes of any kind, from more than 60,000 cartons in 2007-2008 to just under 10,000 cartons in 2017-2018. Most of this decline occurred in the late 2000s, suggesting that there was no link between seizures and the menthol cigarette ban.

There was no statistically significant difference in the number of cigarettes seized before and after menthol cigarettes were banned, according to the researchers.

"This indicates that illicit cigarette sales in the province are similarly unlikely to be increasing," Stoklosa said in an American Cancer Society news release.

"Indeed, Nova Scotia tax authorities estimate that the prevalence of illegal tobacco in the province has actually decreased, from 30 percent of all tobacco consumed in 2006-2007 to less than 10 percent in 2016-2017," Stoklosa added.

The findings were published Oct. 11 in the journal Tobacco Control.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the health risks of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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