Illicit cigarette purchasing after implementation of menthol cigarette bans in Canada: findings from the 2016-2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

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Abstract

Objective To examine the impact of menthol cigarette bans on use and purchasing of illicit cigarettes among menthol and non-menthol smokers in seven Canadian provinces. Methods Data from 1098 non-menthol smokers and 138 menthol smokers in Canada who completed the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey in 2016 (pre-ban) and 2018 (post-ban). Brand validation analysis was conducted to (1) compare self-reported use of menthols versus actual use of menthols as regular brand, and verify self-reported purchasing of menthols among pre-ban menthol smokers at post-ban; and (2) assess pre-post ban changes in purchasing of illicit cigarettes from First Nations reserves among non-menthol smokers and menthol smokers. Results Among the subset of 138 pre-ban menthol smokers, 36 (19.5%) reported smoking menthols at post-ban. Brand validation analyses showed that 19 (9.0%) were actually using a non-menthol brand; of the 17 (10.5%) who were actually using a menthol brand, 13 (7.9%) bought a menthol brand at last purchase, and 4 (2.6%) bought a non-menthol brand. Among the full sample of smokers who purchased cigarettes from First Nations reserves at both pre-ban and post-ban, there was no change in purchasing of menthols (n=9 menthol smokers; 51.2% vs 51.2%, p=1.00), non-menthols (n=1024 non-menthol smokers; 9.1% vs 8.7%, p=0.69) or all cigarettes (menthol+non-menthol) (n=1086 smokers; 9.7% vs 9.2%, p=0.56). Conclusions Actual rates of brand-verified menthol smoking were substantially lower than self-reported rates at post-ban. After Canada's menthol ban, there was no increase in illicit purchasing of menthol or non-menthol cigarettes from First Nations reserves.

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APA

Chung-Hall, J., Fong, G. T., Meng, G., & Craig, L. V. (2023). Illicit cigarette purchasing after implementation of menthol cigarette bans in Canada: findings from the 2016-2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys. Tobacco Control, 33(e1), E128–E131. https://doi.org/10.1136/tc-2022-057697

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