February 2024 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, Flavors (including Menthol), Little cigars/Cigarillos, Minimum pack size, Minimum price, Product Availability, Product Packaging

Welcome to CounterTobacco.org’s “News and Research Roundup!” Each month we post a summary of the latest research, reports, and news stories on counteracting tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale (POS). Keeping up with what’s happening in the POS movement all across the country can help you choose policies and strategies that work best for your community. New research can help provide support for your work and evidence for the importance of the “War in the Store.” Have a story you don’t want us to miss? E-mail it to us!

New Research

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products 

  • The impact of menthol cigarette bans: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Nicotine & Tobacco Research 
    • menthol advertisementThis systematic review and meta-analysis found that across studies, research shows that bans on the sale of menthol cigarettes promote cessation. Pooled results showed that nearly a quarter (24%) of people who smoked menthol cigarettes quit smoking after a menthol ban was implemented, while 50% switched to non-menthol cigarettes, 12% switched to other flavored products, and 24% continued smoking menthol cigarettes.
    • News story: Menthol cigarette bans could lead nearly a quarter of smokers to quit, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health  
    • Learn more about menthol.
  • Expanding local sales restrictions on flavoured tobacco products to include menthol: retail sales changes in two Minnesota cities, Tobacco Control
    • Following Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s 2018 expansions of existing restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products to include menthol-flavored products, sales of menthol cigarettes and menthol smokeless tobacco products decreased in the two cities to a greater extent than in comparison areas. Flavored cigars sales decreased as well, whereas sales of menthol-flavored e-cigarettes increased in both cities and sales of other-flavored e-cigarettes increased in St. Paul. Researchers note that the increase in menthol and other-flavored e-cigarette sales may be due to both sales at exempted (adult-only) stores and at non-compliant retailers. 
    • Learn more about menthol.
  • E-cigarette ‘tobacco-flavor,’ how do I name thee? Let me count the ways, Physicians Weekly
    • Researchers analyzed nearly 3,000 e-cigarette advertisements from January 2018 – December 2020 and found that 28% promoted at least one tobacco flavored e-cigarettes product. Across those 832 ads with tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products, researchers identified 51 unique tobacco flavor names, including some associated with color (e.g. “golden tobacco”), sensory expectancy (e.g. “rich tobacco”), place where tobacco cultivation takes place (e.g. “Carolina tobacco”), physical attributes (e.g. “cut tobacco”), and concept flavors (e.g. “freedom juice”). Researchers conclude that, “As e-cigarette flavor restrictions that exempt tobacco flavor are still prevalent, this study highlights the need for continued monitoring of naming conventions of tobacco flavored products and examination of how nuanced flavor names influence perceptions and expectations.”  
    • Learn more about flavored tobacco products. 
  • Trends in unit sales of cooling flavoured e-cigarettes, USA, 2017-2021, Tobacco Control 
    • Researchers assessed trends in unit sales of cooling flavoured e-cigarettes in the USA and found that, “During January 2017 to November 2021, unit sales of cooling flavoured e-cigarettes increased by 693.0% (1.5 to 12.0 million units); the percentage of these sales from total sales increased from 26.4% to 54.9%. Among cooling flavours, percentage of menthol sales decreased from 94.5% to 73.0% (p<0.001). Among menthol cooling flavours, percentage of prefilled cartridges increased from 67.2% to 96.6% (p<0.001); among non-menthol cooling flavours, percentage of disposable e-cigarettes increased from 5.2% to 99.2% (p<0.001). There were no significant price differences between cooling and non-cooling flavoured disposable e-cigarettes.”
    • Learn more about e-cigarettes at the point of sale

Nicotine Pouches 

  • Qualitative perspective on nicotine pouches from adults who smoke cigarettes in North Carolina, Tobacco Control 
    • Zyn nicotine pouch advertisementResearchers conducted online semistructured interviews with 30 adults who smoke cigarettes about their perceptions of On! nicotine pouches based on product brochures and images. They found that participants thought the ability to easily conceal the product, the flavors, and the packaging would all appeal to youth and young adults. Participants also thought of the nicotine pouches as products to supplement cigarette use rather than to use to quit smoking cigarettes and had some concerns about the health impacts of the product. 
  • Levels of nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamines in oral nicotine pouches, Tobacco Control 
    • This study analyzed 44 nicotine pouches from 20 different manufacturers and found that nicotine concentration ranged from 1.79 – 47.5 mg/pouch. Carcinogenic tobacco-specific nicotrosamines were found in 26 products (over half the samples). Researchers note that “better manufacturing processes and quality control standards should be implemented. Labels of nicotine strength on most products are misleading. A strict regulation regarding nicotine contents and its labelling would be advisable.”
  • Learn more about nicotine pouches and other “modern” oral nicotine products.


  • Compliance with US federal regulations on waterpipe tobacco warnings on packaging, JAMA Network
  • Special communication: Standardised cigarettes: the next step for tobacco policy?, Tobacco Control 
    • “This paper considers a ‘standardised cigarettes’ policy as a potential next step in restricting tobacco marketing. This policy would remove from cigarette products all the elements that increase their appeal and addictiveness: added flavours, nicotine, and visual designs and branding. The result would be a cigarette that is flavourless, not especially addicting, and visually off-putting. This paper discusses what a standardised cigarettes policy might look like from a regulatory standpoint, and how it fits into current policy obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”
    • Learn more about endgame policies. 
  • Tobacco minimum packaging policy to reduce cigarillos use among young people: results of an experimental study, Tobacco Control 
    • This study presented young adults ages 18-30 who smoked cigarillos in the past 12 months with cigarillos in packs of 1, 2, and 5 both with their actual price and with a standardized price per cigarillo. Participants demonstrated the highest intentions to buy and smoke the product for lower priced single cigarillos and two-packs. When the price was set at a standardized price per cigarillo, participants preferred the larger packs. In addition, “Participants who smoked cigarillos less than monthly were more likely to buy and smoke the leas expensive product.” Researchers conclude that “Young adult cigarillo smokers prefer smaller packs in conditions where pricing incentivises smaller packs. Minimum pack size policies may reduce the appeal of cigarillos among young adults, especially less frequent cigarillo smokers. Pack size policy should take into consideration price, and ideally these two factors should be addressed together.” 
    • Learn more about point of sale pricing policies 

Resources & Reports 

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products 

Licensing, Zoning, and Retailer Density


Nicotine Pouches and other Modern Oral Nicotine Products


Find more stories in last month’s News and Research Roundup.

Know of a story that we missed? Email us, and we’ll be sure to include it in next month’s roundup!

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