FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Teen use of both flavored and nonflavored tobacco decreases with enforced flavored tobacco restriction policies, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Melody Kingsley, M.P.H., from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the short-term impact of a flavored tobacco restriction policy on youth access to, and use of, flavored tobacco products in a Massachusetts community. Product inventories were assessed at tobacco retailers, and surveys were administered to high school-aged youth in two communities with similar demographics, retailer characteristics, and point-of-sale tobacco policies, but different flavored tobacco restriction policies.

The researchers found that flavored tobacco availability decreased significantly by 70 percentage points from baseline in the community with the restriction. There were no significant changes in flavored tobacco availability in the community without the policy. Current use of both flavored and nonflavored tobacco decreased among teens in the community with the policy and increased from baseline to follow-up in the community without the flavored tobacco restriction (differences: flavored tobacco, −5.7 percent; nonflavored tobacco, −6.2 percent).

“With rigorous enforcement, the flavored restriction policy has promising potential to curb youth tobacco use, even within six months after implementation,” the authors write. “With a longer follow-up time, [we] expect these trends will continue, and the policy may begin to impact and reduce flavored tobacco initiation, as exposure to flavored tobacco among younger students continues to decline.”

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