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Flavored tobacco policy resource center

Flavor Map & Quarterly Update

Local flavored tobacco policies (as of September 30, 2023)


This resource presents a quarterly breakdown on the current state of U.S. jurisdictions with policies on flavored tobacco products.


The Effects of Tobacco Flavor Restrictions on Tobacco Retail Businesses


Analysis of tobacco stores and convenience stores in Massachusetts compared to neighboring states found that restrictions on flavored tobacco products did not have a negative financial impact on the businesses. Researchers analyzed the number of stores, the number of employees, and the wages paid to employees and found that businesses were able to adapt to the restriction policies the state passed in 2019.

Examining the Comprehensiveness of Amended Flavored Tobacco Product Sales Restrictions


In the last decade, several local jurisdictions have implemented policies intended to curb flavored tobacco sales. Some of these policies prove to not be adequately comprehensive to achieve this and so are amended to broaden their reach. In this research article, Truth researchers investigate to what degree and in what direction these amendments affected the scope of flavored tobacco sales restrictions.

The effect of state and local flavored cigar sales restrictions, on retail sales of large cigars, cigarillos and little cigars in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and New York


A review of sales data from states that enacted flavored cigar bans found increasing population coverage by cigar sales restrictions is significantly associated with decreases in per capita cigar sales, implying that restrictions on flavored combustible tobacco products still on the market largely accomplish their goal of decreasing use.

Trends in US E-cigarette Sales and Prices by Nicotine Strength, Overall, and by Product and Flavor Type, 2017-2022


Investigators examined e-cigarette sales in the U.S. between January 2017 and March 2022. They found that the unit share of products with over 5% nicotine increased exponentially, and by the end of March nearly 90% of sales were of high nicotine strength products. Findings indicate that limiting the strength of nicotine in vaping devices could be a viable pathway to reducing underage access and use.

Teens Less Susceptible to Vaping When Restricted to Tobacco-Flavored E-cigarettes: Implications for Flavored Tobacco Policies


Researchers surveyed a sample of Minnesota teens about their e-cigarette use, symptoms of dependence, and their inclination to use e-cigarettes depending on flavor. They found that the percentage of teens who were susceptible to using e-cigarettes was significantly lower when the flavor available was restricted. The likelihood of e-cigarette use was significantly lowered when flavors were restricted to tobacco and menthol flavors.

The impact of two state-level approaches to restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products


While Massachusetts' comprehensive flavored tobacco policy reduced flavored tobacco product sales significantly, New Jersey only saw a significant decrease in per capita sales of menthol-flavored e-cigarettes and saw cigar sales in "other" flavors nearly quadruple after implementing its partial flavored tobacco product sales restriction.

Impact of Massachusetts law prohibiting flavored tobacco products sales on cross-border cigarette sales


The Massachusetts law prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, in June 2020 had no significant impact on cigarette sales in bordering states that did not have such policies in place.

Flavored Tobacco Sales Restrictions Reduce Tobacco Product Availability and Retailer Advertising


While Massachusetts' comprehensive flavored tobacco policy reduced flavored tobacco product sales significantly, New Jersey only saw a significant decrease in per capita sales of menthol-flavored e-cigarettes and saw cigar sales in "other" flavors nearly quadruple after implementing its partial flavored tobacco product sales restriction.

Evaluation of Statewide Restrictions on Flavored E-Cigarette Sales in the US from 2014 to 2020


A review of e-cigarette retail sales from 2014 to 2020 found that state restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington saw a reduction in total e-cigarette sales.

Identifying best practices in adoption, implementation and enforcement of flavoured tobacco product restrictions and bans: lessons from experts


Flavored tobacco policies are an invaluable tool for reducing tobacco sales and combatting youth tobacco use. There are several steps to crafting an effective restriction or prohibition and in this research article, the authors review and outline the best practices for creating, enacting, and enforcing effective flavored tobacco sanctions.

Statements/News Updates/Fact Sheets

Public health and civil rights groups call on White House to stop delaying and end menthol cigarette sales


Activists gathered in Washington D.C. to call for the passing of a proposal that would allow the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes. The rally was organized by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council and featured a mock funeral for menthol cigarettes, which are disproportionately sold to Black communities and have evaded many other flavor bans.

Menthol: Facts, stats and regulations


A comprehensive factsheet details the history, marketing, health effects, patterns of use, and policy environment of menthol tobacco products.

Truth Initiative Urges Swift Action to Prevent Delay in Removing Menthol and Cigar Flavors, Citing Serious Health Implications


A proposal restricting the sale of menthol cigarettes has been delayed to March 2024, despite research indicating that menthol bans would prevent thousands of smoking-related deaths, especially among Black Americans. The delay will allow for many more to fall victim to addiction and put the proposal at risk of passing.

Why ending menthol cigarette sales would benefit disproportionally affected groups


Restricting the sale of menthol cigarettes would specifically promote positive changes in health equity for various marginalized groups. The article describes the vulnerabilities of members of racial/ethnic minority groups, women, the LGBT community, and those suffering from mental illness to the perils of targeting by the tobacco industry.

FDA sent in the Menthol and cigar rule to OMB


In October 2023, the FDA submitted its proposed rules regarding menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars to the White House Office of Management and Budget for finalization, marking the final step in the process to restrict the sale of flavored combustible tobacco products and prioritize public health.

Truth initiative applauds FDA issuing marketing denial orders for flavored Vuse Alto products


In October 2023, the FDA issued marketing denial orders for six R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company’s Vuse Alto brand flavored e-cigarette products, including three menthol-flavored varieties. Because Vuse e-cigarettes are the second most commonly reported e-cigarette brand used by U.S. youth since 2021, the decision is a strong move in favor of public health.

What is Zyn and what are oral nicotine pouches?


The popularity of combustible tobacco products like cigarettes is on the decline, especially among youth. Brands Zyn, Velo and On! are capitalizing on the increasing popularity of “smokeless tobacco” boasting oral pouches filled with anywhere between 1.5 and 12mg of nicotine powder. These products are not well-regulated and are available in an array of youth-appealing flavors.

FDA’s Latest Marketing Denial Order for Menthol E-Cigarette Products Underscores Its Continued Commitment to Sound Science


The FDA’s latest decision to issue marketing denial orders for two R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company’s Vuse Solo brand menthol cartridges builds on earlier marketing denials for Vuse Vibe Tank Menthol 3.0% and Vuse Ciro Cartridge Menthol 1.5%. The decision highlights the FDA’s commitment to consistent action on regulating flavored e-cigarettes and protecting youth from highly addictive, menthol-flavored e-cigarettes.

3 lessons on preventing loopholes in flavored tobacco restrictions


To prevent loopholes in the FDA’s proposed rules to remove menthol and flavored cigars from the market, the FDA’s rules should include (1) swift finalization and implementation, (2) comprehensive rules to block engineering and marketing tactics, and (3) no exemptions or substitutions to the rules against menthol and flavored cigars, which should also be implemented closely together.

US Food and Drug Administration Action on Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars—A Pivotal Moment for Health Equity


FDA’s proposed bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars can help to address the impact of decades of big tobacco targeting of marginalized and youth communities and should be implemented as soon as possible alongside culturally appropriate tobacco prevention and cessation resources.

FDA proposed rules to eliminate menthol cigarettes & flavored cigars will protect youth, save countless lives, end needless disease, and fight health inequities in America


Truth Initiative applauds the Food & Drug Administration’s historic steps to remove menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars from the marketplace and urges the agency to protect against tobacco industry efforts to exploit loopholes and skirt the law through clever product engineering or marketing tactics. The public should also be wary of the tobacco industry and paid spokespeople to delay and obstruct action addressing this monumental public health issue.

Case Studies


Early evidence of flavored tobacco product restrictions in Massachusetts and New York State


Researchers report that restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Massachusetts and New York State resulted in significantly reduced sales over the 9 month survey period. The study provides strong evidence that the restriction of flavored tobacco products is a vital step in reducing nicotine addiction, especially among young people.

Evaluation of a Statewide Flavored Tobacco Restriction on Use, Access, and Cessation Among Black and White Tobacco Users in Massachusetts


Tobacco industry marketing has historically targeted Black American tobacco users with menthol flavored products. This study examines the impact of statewide restrictions on flavored tobacco users in Massachusetts and assess possible disparities in policy impact between Black and White tobacco users.

Impact of Restricting the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products: The Massachusetts Experience


In 2019, Massachusetts restricted the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol; limited the sale of e-cigarettes with high nicotine products and introduced a 75% wholesale tax on e-cigarettes. To date, the ordinances have reduced youth cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use by 1.4% and 14.4%, respectively. Adult smoking rates also decreased by an additional percentage point compared to states without flavored tobacco restrictions.

Flavored Tobacco Sales Restrictions: Promising Evidence for Reducing Youth Access and Tobacco Use


In 2019, Massachusetts became the first state to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products. In total 360 localities, including 4 other states, across the United States have developed legislation restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products; 170 of these localities have also restricted the sale of menthol cigarettes.

As New York debates flavored tobacco ban, this Massachusetts law shows promise


After becoming the first state to ban flavored tobacco products in 2019, Massachusetts saw declines in overall adult smoking rates and sales of e-cigarettes and cigarettes. Border states without flavored tobacco bans have not seen a considerable increase in sales, Massachusetts tobacco retailers did not close and citizens have not faced more police interaction as a result, despite dire predictions from the tobacco industry. Evidence from Massachusetts provides insights for other states like NY that are considering similar restrictions.


Changes in Retail Tobacco Product Availability Following a Chicago City Ordinance Restricting Sales of Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products Near Schools


In Chicago, retailers are not permitted to sell flavored tobacco products if they are located within 500 feet of any public, private, or alternative K-12 school. While proactive policies like this aim to reduce youth access and exposure to tobacco, retailer compliance is another story. Researchers examine availability of flavored tobacco among retailers subject to restriction compared to those that are not to assess changes following policy implementation.


Proliferation of ‘non-menthol’ cigarettes amid a statewide flavour ban


Cigarettes in California are being marketed as “cooling” and “the non-menthol for menthol smokers” since the state banned the sale of flavored tobacco products including menthol in 2020.

Implementation of a comprehensive flavored tobacco product sales restriction and retail tobacco sales


The City of San Francisco has enacted a comprehensive flavored tobacco product restriction applicable to all flavors, all retailers, and all tobacco products without any exemption. This study compares tobacco sales in San Francisco and two cities without restrictions, San Jose and San Diego, to assess the impact of this all-inclusive policy on overall tobacco sales.


Youth Perspectives on Menthol Sales Restrictions in Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota


After Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota restricted the sale of menthol tobacco products in 2018 to advance health equity in communities adversely affected by menthol, researchers ran focus groups with 14-17-year-olds recruited from community-based organizations that work with LGBTQ youth and youth of color to determine impact of the policies. Youth reported that many tobacco users in their age group obtain tobacco informally through peers, family members, and online and that e-cigarettes and online advertising were more significant issues than retail advertising for their age group.

Expanding local sales restrictions on flavored tobacco products to include menthol: retail sales changes in two Minnesota cities


An expansion of local sales restrictions in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota to prohibit menthol flavors led to decreases in unit sales of menthol cigarettes and menthol smokeless tobacco in both cities. Total unit sales of all tobacco products were also reduced significantly but observed increases in sales of menthol and flavored e-cigarettes points to a need for further retailer education and policy enforcement.

New York

Changes in Sales of Vaping Products and Cigarettes Associated With the New York State Flavored Vaping Product Sales Restriction


This study looked at sales of vaping products after New York implemented a statewide restriction on the retail sale of flavored vaping products to reduce availability of vaping products with youth-appealing flavors in 2020. The flavored vaping product policy was associated with fewer sales of flavored and total vaping products, indicating NY’s policy had its intended effect with limited unintended consequences.

External Resources

African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council

AATCLC educates the public about the effects of tobacco on the Black community by highlighting the predatory marketing tactics employed by the tobacco industry and emphasizing the need to regulate all flavored tobacco products (including menthol). Resources include videos, news updates and a curriculum (by request) on the history of tobacco industry influence on Black Lives and Black Lungs.

The Center for Black Health & Equity

CFBH works to facilitate the implementation and promotion of comprehensive policies, community-led programs and culturally competent public health campaigns that benefit people of African descent. This resource provides fact sheets, reports, podcasts and social media creatives that focus on issues ranging from tobacco control to health disparities that disproportionately impact the black community such as diabetes, heart disease and mental health.

Public Health Law Center

The Public Health Law Center, a national public interest legal resource center dedicated to improving health through the power of law and policy, provides a number of resources on regulating flavored commercial tobacco products at the federal, state, and local levels, including policy considerations for addressing menthol tobacco products, examples from select U.S. jurisdictions that restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, and practical guides on adopting and implementing flavored tobacco product policies.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

CTFK is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. This site includes a searchable CTFK library of U.S. Resources by state or issue, including fact sheets on fighting flavored tobacco on both the federal and state/local levels.

National Native Network 

The National Native Network provides a forum for tribal organizations and American Indian/Alaska Native stakeholders to obtain and disseminate evidence-based and culturally relevant resources that aim to decrease tobacco-related health disparities among American Indian/Alaska Native communities across North America. Resources also include best practice tools for commercial tobacco and cancer prevention and control programs, and technical assistance in policy implementation, enforcement, and evaluation.

National Indian Health Board

The National Indian Health Board is a national non-profit organization established by tribes, that represents tribal governments by providing the tribal perspective on Capitol Hill related to federal legislation and regulations. They provide a number of resources to tribes, tribal organizations, federal agencies, and private foundations such as advocacy, policy formation and analysis, legislative and regulatory tracking, research on Indian health issues, program development and assessment, and training and technical assistance.

CDC Foundation

The CDC Foundation’s Monitoring E-Cigarette Use Among Youth project aims to augment existing national- and state-level surveillance activities related to youth tobacco product use in the US. The project includes several aims with available resources.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health Summary of Scientific Evidence: Flavored Tobacco Products, Including Menthol

This resource provides information on the health risks associated with tobacco use, highlights the impact of flavored tobacco products on targeted groups, and outlines the developing legislation aimed at restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products.