An online survey exploring the impact of the UK Menthol Ban on Liverpool John Moores University Student’s cigarette consumption
Smoking is the leading cause of premature and preventative death with 14% of the UK population currently participating in smoking, of which 900,000 are menthol smokers. Menthol cigarettes are flavoured with a menthol compound and are popular amongst young people due to the fresh taste. The Menthol Ban was implemented on the 20th May 2020 to discourage the younger population from participating in smoking and encourage those who smoke menthol cigarettes to quit. A quantitative study using an online survey with health students in Liverpool John Moores University who were 18+ years and previously smoked menthol cigarettes, was undertaken. The research assessed the impact of the menthol ban on student smoking behaviour. The main findings from the online survey were that cigarette consumption did increase with the majority of participants (35%) smoking a few more cigarettes than before the menthol ban. In addition to this, the study found that only 15.4% of participants quit smoking and the rest continued to participate in smoking with the addition of the alternatives. Almost half of participants (45%) stated feelings of anger and upset towards the menthol ban as they believed that their freedom of choice was being withdrawn from them and they were being governed by a nanny state. In addition, 63.8% of respondents felt that it was badly advertised as some were not aware of the menthol ban until it actually happened. However, a small minority (15%) believed this was appropriate stewardship and were happy with the menthol ban because it encouraged them to quit smoking. Further qualitative research is needed to gather in-depth understanding of the thoughts and feelings people displayed as a result of the menthol ban being put in to place.
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