*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
Despite a general decline in U.S. tobacco use since the 1950s, tobacco use is still prevalent and a significant threat to public health. Previous research has shown that flavored cigarettes largely appeal to and are disproportionately used by underage smokers. Nearly 90% of smokers begin smoking by age 18, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To reduce long-term health consequences and improve public health, preventing smoking initiation is key as is reducing the draw of flavored tobacco products.
On September 22, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s national ban on flavored cigarettes products went into effect. This banned the sale of flavored cigarettes other than menthol, but there was little information about the potential impact of this ban on youth smoking.
New research led by George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services found that the flavored cigarette ban was linked to a significant reduction in smoking among youth and young adults.
Dr. Matthew Rossheim, assistant professor of global and community health, led the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Researchers found that the flavored cigarette ban reduced smoking among youth (ages 12-17 years) by 43% and young adults (ages 18-25 years) by 27%.
Rossheim and colleagues examined cigarette use among young people and adults from the 2002-2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data.
Rossheim and colleagues did not see a similar reduction in smoking among older smokers, which suggests that this ban was effective at reducing smoking specifically among young people and that the reduction was caused by the ban and not by other influences.