Are age of smoking initiation and purchasing patterns associated with menthol smoking?
While studies have documented an association between mentholated cigarettes and age of smoking initiation, no research has been found that documents whether smoking mentholated cigarettes is associated with specific cigarette purchasing patterns.
To ensure a nationally representative sample of current smokers, the study used data provided by the 20003 and 2006/7 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS CPS). Among the 66,145 smokers who were self-responders (thought to be able to provide more accurate information about their smoking histories), 16,294 smoked mentholated cigarettes.
The study data was summarized and analyzed with frequency distributions, means and standard deviations, and binary logistic regression.
1. In the full and non-menthol samples, the majority of current smokers were male. Females comprised the majority of menthol smokers.
2. The percentage of black participants in the menthol group was much higher than in either the Hispanic or white non-Hispanic groups.
3. While about 1/3 of smokers in overall and non-menthol groups purchased cigarettes by the carton, only about ¼ of menthol smokers did so.
4. In all three groups of smokers, most initiated smoking prior to age 18. This percentage was slightly smaller in the menthol group, suggesting that delayed initiation of smoking is a risk factor for using mentholated cigarettes.
5. Lower levels of education and lower family incomes were also risk factors for smoking mentholated cigarettes.
These findings suggest that it’s important to continue to focus interventions on female and racial/ethnic minority smokers of mentholated cigarettes. Further studies may be needed to examine the influence of marketing and other sociocultural influences on menthol cigarette use.
This study, “Are age of smoking initiation and purchasing patterns associated with menthol smoking?” was conducted by Anita Fernander, Mary Kay Rayens, Mei Zhang, and Sarah Adkins and published in Addiction, Volume 105, Supplement 1 by the Society for the Study Addiction.