Policy Options for Restricting Sales of Menthol Cigarettes and Other Flavored Tobacco Products
Although federal law bans fruit- and candy-flavored cigarettes, neither federal nor California laws restrict sales of menthol cigarettes or other flavored tobacco products such as cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, and electronic cigarettes.
Restricting the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products is a promising equity-focused strategy for countering the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics and reducing tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations. Local governments in California and across the country have taken action to protect their communities by enacting such sales restrictions.
ChangeLab Solutions created this fact sheet to outline local policy options to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. In addition, our Model California Ordinance Restricting the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and Other Flavored Tobacco Products takes a comprehensive approach by prohibiting all tobacco retailers from selling any tobacco product that has a taste or aroma other than tobacco. California communities with a tobacco retailer licensing (TRL) program can also amend their TRL law to include menthol cigarette and flavored tobacco sales restrictions.
For additional information about how menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products negatively affect health and equity, see the California Tobacco Program's resources, and The Flavor Trap, a recent report from leading public health organizations. Resources from the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council highlight how menthol cigarettes disproportionately harm African American communities. To learn more about the legal considerations associated with restricting the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, see the California Tobacco Control Program's Focus on Flavors report.