March 2023 News and Research Roundup

Cigarettes, Disparities, E-Cigarettes, Endgame, FDA, Flavors (including Menthol), Licensing, Preemption, Product Availability, Retailer Density, Tobacco21

Welcome to’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

 Flavored Tobacco Sales Restrictions 

  • Public health impact of a US ban on menthol in cigarettes and cigars: a simulation study, Tobacco Control
    • Ad for Newport Menthol cigarettes with "89.9 Special Price!"The European Union, Canada, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Turkey have all banned menthol cigarettes, but the U.S. has yet to do so nationally. Using a simulation model, this study projects the potential public health impact of banning menthol in cigarettes and cigars on smoking initiation, smoking cessation, and product switching to e-cigarettes in the US. Researchers found that with a ban in 2021, by 2026, overall smoking would decline by 15%, and by 2060, smoking and vaping-attributable deaths would reduced by 5% and life-years lost would be reduced by 8.8%. These projections are based on people who currently smoke menthol cigarettes or cigars either quitting entirely or switching to nicotine vaping products, as well as on a reduction in smoking initiation. These findings support an FDA ban on menthol in cigarettes and cigars and demonstrate its potential for a large public health impact.
    • Learn more about menthol.
  • Classifying the comprehensiveness of flavoured tobacco sales restrictions: development and application of a tool to examine US state and local tobacco policies, Tobacco Control
    • This study characterizes the comprehensiveness of flavored tobacco product (FTP) sales restrictions enacted from June 2007-March 2021 across the U.S. Using a six-level classification scheme, policies were measured from least to most comprehensive based on retailer, tobacco product, and flavor inclusions and exemptions. This policy tracking found there were 7 state and 327 local FTP sales restrictions in the U.S. as of March 2021. The highest policy adoption was in the Northeast and West and lowest in the South and Midwest. Nearly 19% of the U.S. population was covered by at least one FTP sales restriction. Most state policies ranked lower on the comprehensiveness scale, while comprehensiveness was higher at the local level. Adult-only retailers were most frequently exempted from policy. Over half of state and local restrictions had menthol exceptions. The comprehensiveness level of FTP sales restrictions varied between states, and there was more limited population coverage for the most comprehensive policies. This study also shows that local policies have driven action across the country and that FTP policies have become more comprehensive over time. For the greatest impact, FTP sales restrictions should include all flavors, all tobacco products, and all types of retailers, since exemptions can reduce impact.
    • Learn more about flavored tobacco products and restricting tobacco product availability


  • Special communication: Vuse Solo e-cigarettes do not provide net benefits to public health: a scientific analysis of FDA’s marketing authorisation, Tobacco Control
    • This study assessed the FDA’s marketing authorization of Vuse Solo, the first e-cigarette product authorized through the agency’s Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) process. Under PMTA, companies wanting to market and sell their products must demonstrate they are ‘appropriate for the protection of the public health’ (APPH). The FDA weighs the potential negative public health impacts against the potential positive public health impacts to determine authorization. The authors assert that APPH was not properly demonstrated with Vuse Solo and claim there are deficiencies with the FDA’s justification of this product, including inadequate consideration of Vuse’s appeal to and use by youth, its adverse health effects, a lack of net benefits to public health, and more. FDA approval decisions can cause the tobacco industry to take further advantage of the market, using them to justify weakening of regulations for e-cigarettes in other countries. The authors call on the FDA to reconsider its approval of e-cigarettes like Vuse Solo and apply more scientifically rigorous standards that pay more attention to product harms. 

Policy Support

  • Public support for policies to regulate flavoured tobacco and e-cigarette products in rural California, Tobacco Control
    • e-cigarette displayThis study looked at public support for regulations on flavored tobacco products and e-cigarettes among rural California Central Valley residents. In August 2020, researchers surveyed 845 voters across 11 counties. This public opinion poll found 58% of respondents supported a comprehensive flavored tobacco product sales ban, 59% supported a flavored e-cigarette product sales ban, 81% supported limitations on the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes, and 91% supported mandating vaping health warning signs at local retailers. Notably, respondents who believed minors had greater access to flavored products had greater odds of supporting the policies, while those who believe that e-cigarettes can help reduce tobacco use or that e-cigarettes are less addictive were less likely to support bans. These findings from California provide evidence of support for flavor bans even when accounting for the variation in individual attitudes and beliefs. 
    • Learn more about public opinion polling.
  • Understanding Associations of Personal Values with Support for Tobacco and Alcohol Control Policies, Preventive Medicine
    • In this cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2020 Health Information National Trends Survey, researchers measured associations among personal values that respondents considered most important in their daily life and policy support for eight proposed tobacco and alcohol control policies. People who selected family safety and religious connection as most important had higher levels of policy support in comparison with people who chose “making my own decisions,” which was associated with the lowest policy support. These results show the need to consider personal values and the possible benefits of focusing messaging on supporting autonomy in achieving greater support for tobacco and alcohol control policies.
  • Examining the association between California tobacco licensed retail density and public support or opposition to state anti-tobacco legislation, Tobacco Prevention & Cessation 
    • In 2016, California passed Proposition 56, which raised the tax rate on tobacco products to fund health related programs and health care. This study explores the association between voting patterns and outcomes for Proposition 56 and tobacco retailer density in California. Retailers were classified as specialized stores (tobacco and/or vape shops that sell alternative and emerging tobacco products) or non-specialized stores (convenience stores, grocery stores etc.). The analysis showed the total number of licensed tobacco retailers increased by 29% from 2015 (19,825) to 2019 (25,635). The proportion of voters against Proposition 56 was a significant predictor of the increased number of specialized and non-specialized tobacco retailers from 2016-2018. Overall, areas with more opposition to Proposition 56 also had a larger number of tobacco retailers per capita during the vote and after implementation. However, after adjusting for race and age, researchers found that the relationship between support for Proposition 56 and tobacco retailers reversed for 2017-2019. This exploratory study indicates that advocacy activity for tobacco control policies should target both places with demographic shifts and places with high retailer density as places that may be tipping points for opposition and support. 
    • Learn more about tobacco retailer density and ways to regulate it. 

New Reports and Resources 

Industry News

POS Policy in the Media

Age of sale

Tobacco retailer licensing 

Flavored tobacco product restrictions




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