Health

Roughly 3 in 5 Voters Back FDA Plan to Ban Menthol Cigarette Sales

The proposal has support from at least half of voters across the political spectrum, as well as race and community type

Packs of menthol-flavored and non-menthol cigarettes are displayed for sale in a smoke shop on April 28, 2022, in Los Angeles, Calif. Most voters are on board with removing menthol cigarettes from shelves, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey that comes days after the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on U.S. sales. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Most voters are on board with removing menthol cigarettes from shelves, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey that comes days after the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on U.S. sales.

What you need to know
  • Roughly 3 in 5 voters said they are in favor of a long-awaited FDA effort to ban U.S. sales of menthol cigarettes, which public health advocates say could help discourage young people from picking up smoking and curb racial disparities from smoking-related diseases. The ban, which also covers flavored cigars but doesn’t include menthol e-cigarettes, wouldn’t go into effect until a year after the final rule is published.
  • Voters across the political spectrum back the proposal, including 66% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans. Another 28% of Republicans oppose the ban, compared with about 1 in 5 Democrats and a quarter of voters overall.
  • In 2020, menthol cigarettes made up 37% of U.S. cigarette sales among major manufacturers, and they are particularly popular among minors and Black smokers. While the FDA plan has divided Black political leaders, Black voters are largely on board: 55% said they support the proposed menthol ban, while 29% oppose it.
  • The menthol ban also has voter support across community type, though suburban voters are the most likely to back the proposal at 61%. Higher-income voters, those with more than a bachelor’s degree, and voters 65 or older are also more likely to support the ban.
  • A recent study in the journal Tobacco Control found that if the United States imposed a menthol cigarette ban with the same outcome as a similar rule in Canada, an estimated 1.3 million additional smokers would quit.

 

The April 29-May 2, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,000 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Correction: A previous version of the chart in this story misstated the shares who supported and opposed the FDA’s proposed ban.

Morning Consult