Population Health

January 31, 2024

New UW research finds that menthol cigarette taxes more effective than statewide bans

Smoked cigarettes sitting in an ashtrayThe popularity of menthol-flavored cigarettes is increasing, with menthol-flavored cigarettes now accounting for more than a third of cigarettes sold in the U.S. despite numerous city, county and state bans.

Now, new research from the University of Washington discovered that a menthol tax is a more effective measure than dispersed statewide bans. The project uncovered that, after the ban in Massachusetts, the majority of menthol cigarette consumers did not stop smoking and rather traveled to bordering states to buy menthols. This resulted in reduced tax revenue for Massachusetts and diminished positive health benefits.

As a result, the research team believes that a statewide menthol tax would be a more effective because it would lead to a drop in smoking while generating additional tax revenue that could be used to fund future tobacco control programs.

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