Though the timing may be uncertain, the effect that a ban on menthol would have on the industry is fairly clear. Minneapolis-based NATO commissioned an economic study on behalf of local retailers, and it found that a menthol ban would result in up to $260,000 in lost cigarette and ancillary sales per year per store, plus 1,000 jobs lost across the city.

“It’s not just about the science: Unintended consequences are a big, big deal,” said Modi of RBC, pointing out that there are additional risks, such as consumers manipulating menthol flavoring themselves, or resorting to purchasing products on the black market.

Pictured here: Retailers took to Minneapolis' City Hall this past summer to fight the menthol restrictions that ultimately passed. Photo credit: David Bowman