Letter to the Editor
Jul 2020

Response to “A Deliberate Public Policy Plus Naivety at Best”

Stella Aguinaga Bialous, DrPH and Yvette van der Eijk, PhD
AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(7):E643-644. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2020.643.


We welcome Alain Braillon’s letter, “A Deliberate Public Policy Plus Naivety at Best” in response to our article, “How Should Global Tobacco Control Efforts Be Prioritized to Protect Children in Resource-Poor Regions,” in stimulating debate on how we can continue to frame the regulation of tobacco and nicotine products from a children’s rights perspective.

Several countries have imposed bans on the sale of flavored tobacco. In the Unites States, several states and localities have banned the sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol.1 Several Canadian provinces have also banned flavors, including menthol.2 Brazil and Ethiopia have also banned all flavors, including menthol.2 Turkey, the European Union, and the United Kingdom are expected to implement a complete ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes in May 2020.3,4 The evaluation of these experiences will continue to inform the scientific community on best practices for implementing these regulations and for strengthening implementation of the WHO (World Health Organization) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.5


  1. Glantz SA, Gardiner P. Local movement to ban menthol tobacco products as a result of federal inaction. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(5):711-713.
  2. WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation. Advisory note: banning menthol in tobacco products. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2016. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/205928/9789241510332_eng.pdf;jsessionid=FFB82494BBA73D2FB63E03F9EB351614?sequence=1. Accessed March 24, 2020.

  3. Brooks-Pollock T. Menthol cigarettes banned by EU under stringent new tobacco laws. Independent. May 19, 2016. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-eu-is-banning-menthol-cigarettes-a7037346.html. Accessed March 24, 2020.

  4. Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. How other countries regulate flavored tobacco products. https://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/International-Restrictions-on-Flavored-Tobacco-2015.pdf. Published 2015. Accessed March 24, 2020.

  5. Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Guidelines for implementation of Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship). https://www.who.int/fctc/guidelines/article_13.pdf. Accessed March 24, 2020.


AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(7):E643-644.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

Dr Bialous works as a consultant for the Secretariat of the Who Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Dr van der Eijk had no conflicts of interest to disclose.

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.