Youth tobacco use before and after local sales restrictions on flavored and menthol tobacco products in Minnesota
Olson, L. T., Coats, E. M., Rogers, T., Brown, E. M., Nonnemaker, J., Ross, A. M., Delahanty, J., & Xu, X. (2022). Youth tobacco use before and after local sales restrictions on flavored and menthol tobacco products in Minnesota. Journal of adolescent health, 70(6), 978-984. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.01.129
PURPOSE: Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, implemented sales restrictions on all flavored tobacco products in 2016 ("flavor policy") and expanded the restrictions to menthol tobacco products in 2018 ("menthol policy"). We examined data from surveys of Minnesota youth collected before and after the flavor and menthol policies.
METHODS: We measured changes in youth tobacco use prevalence using data from the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey and the Minnesota Student Survey. We analyzed tobacco use overall and, where possible, by product category and flavor category among survey respondents in the Twin Cities area (including Minneapolis and St. Paul) and the rest of the state of Minnesota (ROS).
RESULTS: In the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey, overall youth use of any tobacco product significantly increased in ROS (by 26.6%) but did not change in the Twin Cities after the flavor policies. Similarly, the Minnesota Student Survey showed the youth use of any tobacco product increased to a greater extent in ROS (by 44.6%) than that in the Twin Cities (by 34.6%) after implementation of the menthol policies. In both surveys, increases in youth use of particular tobacco products were less pronounced in the Twin Cities relative to the rest of the state.
DISCUSSION: Policies restricting sales of all flavored and menthol tobacco products may be associated with attenuated increases in youth use of tobacco product categories. Policy exemptions and proximity to nonpolicy jurisdictions may have diluted the effect of policies on overall tobacco product use among youth tobacco users.