Residents in areas with a comprehensive sales ban had 30% reduced odds of using flavored tobacco compared to those without a ban, according to researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
But the study did not find lower use when only a partial sales ban was enacted.
Meanwhile, Prop 31, which upheld a 2020 state law to prohibit retail sales of certain flavored tobacco products, was recently passed in the state, and experts think this will lead to an even greater decline in use of flavored tobacco across California.
Flavored tobacco products are particularly appealing to young people, who are more likely to experiment with them and become regular users.
This could lead to a lifetime of addiction and long-term health problems, according to the study.
These local bans may be working, the study shows.
“The drawback of having differing sales restrictions is a patchwork of local policies where someone who can’t buy flavored tobacco in their town can just cross a city line to buy it in a town that does allow it,” said corresponding author David Timberlake, an associate professor of population health and disease prevention with UCI’s Program in Public Health.
“Our study is one of very few that study flavored tobacco use in banned jurisdictions compared to non-banned jurisdictions," he said in a university news release.
Study co-author Denise Payán, an assistant professor of health, society and behavior at UCI, added, “This will close the gap from the patchwork of local policies and eliminate most partial exemptions.”
More research should examine the impact of the new statewide policy ban on flavored tobacco products on individual buying choices, the authors said.
They also suggested that the variability in the strength of associations of comprehensive and partial bans needs to be examined in other locations, to help influence future policy implementation across the country.
This study, which was published recently in the journal International Journal of Drug Policy, was funded by the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on tobacco use among young people.
SOURCE: University of California, Irvine, news release, May 22, 2023