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Differential trends in cigarette smoking in the USA: Is menthol slowing progress?

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Mentholated cigarettes are at least as dangerous to an individual's health as non-mentholated varieties. The addition of menthol to cigarettes reduces perceived harshness of smoke, which can facilitate initiation. Here, we examine correlates of menthol use, national trends in smoking menthol and non-menthol cigarettes, and brand preferences over time. We estimated menthol cigarette use during 2004-2010 using annual data on persons ≥12 years old from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. We adjusted self-reported menthol status for selected brands that were either exclusively menthol or non-menthol, based on sales data. Data were weighted to provide national estimates. Among cigarette smokers, menthol cigarette use was more common among 12-17 year olds (56.7%) and 18-25 year olds (45.0%) than among older persons (range 30.5% to 32.9%). In a multivariable analysis, menthol use was associated with being younger, female and of non-Caucasian race/ethnicity. Among all adolescents, the percentage who smoked non-menthol cigarettes decreased from 2004-2010, while menthol smoking rates remained constant; among all young adults, the percentage who smoked non-menthol cigarettes also declined, while menthol smoking rates increased. The use of Camel menthol and Marlboro menthol increased among adolescent and young adult smokers, particularly non-Hispanic Caucasians, during the study period. Young people are heavy consumers of mentholated cigarettes. Progress in reducing youth smoking has likely been attenuated by the sale and marketing of mentholated cigarettes, including emerging varieties of established youth brands. This study should inform the Food and Drug Administration regarding the potential public health impact of a menthol ban.
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Differential trends in cigarette smoking in the USA:
is menthol slowing progress?
Gary A Giovino,
1
Andrea C Villanti,
2,3
Paul D Mowery,
4
Varadan Sevilimedu,
4
Raymond S Niaura,
2,3
Donna M Vallone,
3,5
David B Abrams
2,3,6
Additional material is
published online only. To view
please visit the journal online
(http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/
tobaccocontrol-2013-051159).
For numbered afliations see
end of article.
Correspondence to
Dr Gary A Giovino, Department
of Community Health and
Health Behavior, School of
Public Health and Health
Professions, University at
Buffalo, The State University of
New York, 311 Kimball Tower,
3435 Main Street, Buffalo,
New York 14214-8028, USA;
ggiovino@buffalo.edu
Received 24 May 2013
Accepted 8 August 2013
To cite: Giovino GA,
Villanti AC, Mowery PD,
et al. Tob Control Published
Online First: [please include
Day Month Year]
doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-
2013-051159
ABSTRACT
Introduction Mentholated cigarettes are at least as
dangerous to an individuals health as non-mentholated
varieties. The addition of menthol to cigarettes reduces
perceived harshness of smoke, which can facilitate
initiation. Here, we examine correlates of menthol use,
national trends in smoking menthol and non-menthol
cigarettes, and brand preferences over time.
Methods We estimated menthol cigarette use during
20042010 using annual data on persons 12 years
old from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.
We adjusted self-reported menthol status for selected
brands that were either exclusively menthol or non-
menthol, based on sales data. Data were weighted to
provide national estimates.
Results Among cigarette smokers, menthol cigarette
use was more common among 1217 year olds (56.7%)
and 1825 year olds (45.0%) than among older persons
(range 30.5% to 32.9%). In a multivariable analysis,
menthol use was associated with being younger, female
and of non-Caucasian race/ethnicity. Among all
adolescents, the percentage who smoked non-menthol
cigarettes decreased from 20042010, while menthol
smoking rates remained constant; among all young
adults, the percentage who smoked non-menthol
cigarettes also declined, while menthol smoking rates
increased. The use of Camel menthol and Marlboro
menthol increased among adolescent and young adult
smokers, particularly non-Hispanic Caucasians, during
the study period.
Conclusions Young people are heavy consumers
of mentholated cigarettes. Progress in reducing youth
smoking has likely been attenuated by the sale and
marketing of mentholated cigarettes, including emerging
varieties of established youth brands. This study should
inform the Food and Drug Administration regarding the
potential public health impact of a menthol ban.
INTRODUCTION
Smokers of mentholated cigarettes are just as likely
to experience premature morbidity and mortality as
smokers of non-mentholated varieties,
1
even
though menthol smokers smoke fewer cigarettes
per day than do smokers of non-mentholated
brands.
23
The cooling properties and avour of
menthol make these cigarettes less harsh to smoke,
4
which can facilitate the transition from experimen-
tation to more regular use and addiction.
56
Consistent with evidence that young smokers
prefer avoured cigarettes,
7
studies of adolescent
and adult smokers nd the highest prevalences of
menthol cigarette use among 1217-year-old
smokers compared to older smokers and among
middle school smokers when compared with high
school smokers.
5810
A recent National Survey on
Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report on menthol
smoking showed that trends in past month menthol
use increased from 13.4% in 2004 to 15.9% in
2010 among people aged 1825 years old, and
remained relatively stable from 20042010 among
those aged 1217 years and 26 years and older.
11
Menthol cigarette use appears to be more common
among more recent initiates, suggesting a role as a
starter product for youth.
4511
Menthol may facili-
tate nicotine addiction. Several studies report
increased nicotine dependence among adolescent
menthol smokers compared to non-menthol
smokers.
51214
Menthol has also been shown to
increase oral absorption of nicotine in an animal
model.
15
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and
Tobacco Control Act
16
gives the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) authority to issue tobacco
product standards if deemed appropriate for the
protection of public health.
16
The Act required the
FDA to ban fruit, candy, or clove characterising a-
vourings in cigarettes in September 2009 to reduce
youth smoking initiation.
17
The Act did not ban
menthol avourings at that time. Rather, it directed
the FDAs Tobacco Products Scientic Advisory
Committee (TPSAC) to review the scientic evi-
dence on the impact of the use of menthol in cigar-
ettes on the public health, including such use
among children, AfricanAmericans, Hispanics and
other racial and ethnic minorities. TPSAC con-
cluded in its July 2011 report that removal of
menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would
benet public health in the USA.
18
TPSACs con-
clusions were based in part on analyses of 2004
2008 NSDUH data.
19
In this study, we update and
extend these analyses with 2009 and 2010 NSDUH
data to examine correlates of menthol use, trends
in the prevalence of smoking menthol and non-
menthol cigarettes in the USA, and changes in pref-
erence for various mentholated brands across sub-
groups and with increased precision.
METHODS
National Survey on Drug Use and Health
The NSDUH is a nationally representative survey
that assesses tobacco, alcohol and drug use beha-
viours in the US civilian, non-institutionalised popu-
lation that is 12 years old. It is administered to a
sample of the US population living in households.
Respondents include residents of non-institutional
group quarters, such as college students living in
dormitories, civilians residing on military bases, and
persons living in group homes, shelters and rooming
houses. The NSDUH is sponsored by the Substance
Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159 1
Research paper
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Cross-sectional surveys administered annually from 2004 to
2010 were used to estimate the prevalence of menthol use
among current smokers and among the entire population.
NSDUH respondents are selected using a multistage probability
sample. Most interviews are conducted in the respondents
homes by trained interviewers. To decrease misclassication bias,
drug use questionsincluding tobacco questionsare adminis-
tered by audio computer-assisted self-interviews (A-CASI). The
overall response rate for the 20042010 individual survey years
ranged from 66.1% to 70.0%. The NSDUH added a new ques-
tion on menthol use in 2004.
20
Current cigarette smoking in the NSDUH was assessed by
asking respondents who had ever smoked whether they had
smoked part or all of a cigarette in the previous 30 days. Those
who responded afrmatively were subsequently asked to report
the brand of cigarettes they smoked most often. They were able
to select and verify their usual brand from 2 lists with a total of
57 (60 in 2004) brand names that were presented onscreen.
Once respondents selected and veried one of the brands on the
screen, they were subsequently asked, Were the <CIGFILL>
cigarettes you smoked during the past 30 days menthol? (Note:
<CIGFILL> was replaced by the computer programme with
the name of the brand the respondent had previously reported
and veried as having smoked most often.) Approximately 95%
of smokers selected a brand from the lists offered. The remain-
ing 5% were asked, Were the cigarettes you smoked during the
past 30 days menthol?
Prior research has demonstrated under-reporting of menthol
status of exclusively menthol brands (eg, Newport, Salem), par-
ticularly among adolescent smokers.
2521
This has been raised
as a particular concern for estimates of menthol use among
young Black smokers.
21
Because of concerns about misclassica-
tion, especially among adolescents (see online supplementary
tables S1 and S2), we used sales data
22
to classify major brands
for which at least 99% of sales were menthol or non-menthol.
Sales data were incorporated for 2008 grocery, drug and mer-
chandise stores and for 2009 and 2010 for those types of stores
and convenience stores, as well (see supplementary Appendix).
Incorporating a method of Hersey and colleagues,
5
if a respond-
ent reported usually smoking Newport and also reported on the
menthol question that the usual brand was non-menthol, the
respondents response to the menthol variable question was
recoded as menthol. A similar adjustment was made for exclu-
sively non-mentholated brands. All results reported here use this
adjustment process. We note that the overall prevalence trends
observed here were also observed with unadjusted data.
11
Statistical analyses
We used SAS V.9.2 for all analyses. The SAS survey procedures
took into account NSDUHs complex survey design. Survey
weights were used to adjust for different probabilities of selec-
tion and for non-response, producing estimates representative of
the US population. Due to small cell sizes, we restricted some of
our analyses to the three largest racial/ethnic groups:
non-Hispanic Caucasian, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic.
We used data on 40 841 smokers interviewed in 20082010
who were aged 12 years and older to assess patterns of menthol
use among smokers by age, gender, race/ethnicity, household
income and the number of days smoked during the previous
30 days. Differences in point estimates were assessed using non-
overlapping CIs. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to
assess patterns of use in a multivariable model.
We then used data on 389 698 respondents aged 12 years and
older to estimate the prevalence of smoking menthol and non-
menthol cigarettes in the US population. These estimates were
made by age (1217, 1825, 26 years and older) and in each
age group by gender and race/ethnicity. The signicance of the
time trends was tested using a t test of the slope coefcients.
This was performed separately for menthol and non-menthol
trend lines. The difference between menthol and non-menthol
time trends was estimated by including an interaction term in
the model. The interaction term enabled us to estimate separate
slopes for menthol and non-menthol trend lines. We tested the
signicance of the interaction coefcient using a t test of the
interaction coefcient.
We also compared data on 43 616 smokers surveyed during
20042006 with those from the 40 841 smokers surveyed
during 20082010 to assess changes in menthol brand prefer-
ence. Our intention in this analysis was to contrast the 3 earliest
years of the study with the 3 latest years. Including data from
2007 would have resulted in an unbalanced analysis.
Differences in use of various brands over time were tested using
the z test of two independent binomial proportions.
A note on terminology
Below we refer to persons aged 1217 years old as adolescents,
1825 years old as young adults and 26 years and older as
adults. We refer to non-Hispanic Caucasian subjects as
Caucasians, non-Hispanic Black subjects as Blacks and
non-Hispanic Asian subjects as Asians.
Additional details on the methods used and results are pre-
sented in the online supplementary appendix.
RESULTS
Age differences in menthol cigarette use among current
cigarette smokers
Table 1 presents overall and age-specic data on the use of men-
tholated cigarettes among current smokers during 20082010 by
gender, race/ethnicity, household income and the number of days
smoked during the previous 30 days. Menthol use was most preva-
lent among adolescent smokers overall (56.7%, representing 1.2
million smokers) and consistently high across all subgroups exam-
ined. Prevalence of menthol use was next highest among young
adult smokers overall (45.0%, representing 5.2 million smokers)
and in most subcategories. Overall, lower menthol use rates were
observed among 2634 year olds (34.7%), which were higher
than among 3549 (30.5%) and 50+ (30.7%) year olds. Among
Blacks, a ceiling effect likely occurred, with menthol use rates of at
least 89.9% observed in each of the 1249-year-old age categories.
Multivariable analyses
More precise younger age categories were examined in a multi-
variable logistic regression analysis of correlates of menthol cig-
arette use among smokers (table 2). Controlling for gender,
race/ethnicity, household income and days smoked in the past
month, the odds of smoking mentholated brands were highest
in the youngest age groups (1215 and 1617) of smokers.
Females and racial/ethnic minority groups were more likely to
smoke mentholated varieties than were males and Caucasians,
respectively. Of particular note, Blacks had 25.18 times higher
odds (95% CI 20.28 to 31.26) of smoking menthol cigarettes
compared to Caucasians. No differences were seen across cat-
egories of household income and days smoked/month.
2 Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159
Research paper
Table 1 Prevalence (%) of use of menthol cigarettes among past 30-day smokers, by age and gender, race/ethnicity, household income and the number of days smoked/month in the USA,
20082010
All ages 1217 1825 2634 3549 50+
Factor % 95% CI % 95% CI % 95% CI % 95% CI % 95% CI % 95% CI
Overall 35.23 34.19 to 36.27 56.71 54.62 to 58.80 45.01 43.80 to 46.22 34.74 32.87 to 36.62 30.50 29.13 to 31.87 30.74 28.27 to 33.22
Gender
Male 31.40 30.24 to 32.55 53.79 51.34 to 56.24 41.94 40.45 to 43.42 32.67 30.16 to 35.18 25.15 23.48 to 26.82 25.70 22.53 to 28.87
Female 39.65 38.11 to 41.19 59.87 57.15 to 62.58 48.95 47.36 to 50.53 37.42 34.90 to 39.94 36.46 34.40 to 38.52 35.87 32.51 to 39.23
Race/ethnicity
Non-Hispanic Caucasian 25.70 24.71 to 26.69 51.30 48.84 to 53.77 36.39 35.12 to 37.66 23.58 21.96 to 25.20 20.05 18.58 to 21.53 22.63 20.53 to 24.73
Non-Hispanic Black 88.47 86.24 to 90.71 94.89 92.68 to 97.11 93.97 92.57 to 95.37 91.61 88.48 to 94.74 89.93 86.43 to 93.44 80.99 75.39 to 86.58
Non-Hispanic other 45.19 37.25 to 53.12 56.49 44.50 to 68.49 56.28 49.24 to 63.31 38.68 25.65 to 51.71 48.47 31.43 to 65.51 31.58 13.12 to 50.04
Non-Hispanic Asian 30.77 26.41 to 35.13 60.71 41.48 to 79.94 49.77 42.57 to 56.97 27.05 17.17 to 36.92 24.91 14.72 to 35.10 16.96 3.62 to 30.29
Non-Hispanic more than one race 42.16 34.57 to 49.75 59.39 49.71 to 69.07 52.81 46.09 to 59.53 30.86 23.03 to 38.69 48.16 37.89 to 58.43 33.75 14.87 to 52.63
Hispanic 38.06 35.70 to 40.43 58.18 52.20 to 64.15 47.33 44.50 to 50.16 40.45 35.38 to 45.52 31.86 26.40 to 37.32 26.82 18.23 to 35.40
Household income
Lower tertile 40.68 38.85 to 42.51 58.32 54.59 to 62.05 45.99 43.93 to 48.06 44.95 41.20 to 48.69 38.92 35.99 to 41.85 32.97 29.09 to 36.84
Middle tertile 35.81 34.17 to 37.46 58.02 54.23 to 61.81 45.05 43.28 to 46.83 35.55 32.45 to 38.66 30.37 28.14 to 32.60 32.44 28.47 to 36.41
Higher tertile 31.20 29.75 to 32.65 55.01 51.75 to 58.27 43.99 42.42 to 45.56 28.04 25.65 to 30.43 26.42 24.13 to 28.72 27.57 24.03 to 31.10
Number of days smoked per month
15 days 39.50 37.35 to 41.65 57.78 54.03 to 61.53 43.76 41.67 to 45.84 32.90 28.28 to 37.52 34.21 29.53 to 38.89 39.26 32.30 to 46.22
629 days 41.30 39.44 to 43.15 58.70 55.30 to 62.09 46.82 44.57 to 49.06 37.77 34.03 to 41.51 37.06 34.00 to 40.12 38.87 32.66 to 45.08
30 days 31.92 30.71 to 33.13 51.98 48.55 to 55.40 44.53 43.12 to 45.93 34.09 31.73 to 36.45 27.73 26.13 to 29.33 27.88 25.16 to 30.59
Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Self-reported menthol status was adjusted if necessary using retail checkout scanner data. Sample size=40 841.
Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159 3
Research paper
Recent trends in the prevalence of smoking menthol and
non-menthol cigarettes in the USA
Figure 1 and table 3 and online supplementary table S3 show
the results of analyses that examined overall trends from 2004
2010 in the prevalence of smoking menthol and non-menthol
cigarettes among adolescents, young adults and adults. Note
that the denominator here is all individuals in the relevant age
groups, not just cigarette smokers. Overall, 5.3% of adolescents
smoked mentholated cigarettes in 2004, compared to 4.5% in
2010; 6.0% smoked non-mentholated cigarettes in 2004, com-
pared to 3.4% in 2010. The slopes of the regression lines were
0.08 (p=0.11) for menthol smoking and 0.47 ( p<0.001)
for non-menthol smoking. The slopes of these two lines were
signicantly different (p<0.001).
Among young adults, 14.0% smoked mentholated cigarettes
in 2004, compared to 16.3% in 2010; 25.7% smoked non-
mentholated cigarettes in 2004, compared to 17.3% in 2010.
The slopes of the regression lines were +0.45 (p=0.003) for
menthol smoking and 1.48 (p<0.001) for non-menthol.
These slopes were also signicantly different (p<0.001).
Among adults aged 26 and above, 7.0% smoked mentholated
cigarettes in 2004, compared to 7.4% in 2010; 17.0% smoked
non-mentholated cigarettes in 2004, compared to 15.3% in
2010. The slopes of the regression lines were +0.04 (p=0.46)
for menthol smoking and 0.28 ( p=0.0024) for non-menthol.
These slopes were signicantly different (p=0.0013).
The general pattern of more rapid decline of non-menthol
smoking relative to menthol smoking was consistently observed
among males, females and Caucasians (p=0.053 for adults) and
among young adult and adult Hispanics (table 3).
Trends in prevalence of various mentholated cigarette
brands by US cigarette smokers
Next, we compared preference for leading mentholated varieties
in 20042006 and 20082010 among smokers across age cat-
egories (see online supplementary gure S1 and table S4).
Preference for Camel menthol and Marlboro menthol cigarettes
increased during the study in all three age groups, but especially
among adolescents and young adults. Newport use increased
among young adults and adults; Salem use declined in all three
age groups. Overall, the number of users of Camel menthol,
Marlboro menthol and Newport increased during the study by
approximately 866 000, 886 000 and 580 000 smokers, respect-
ively (see online supplementary table S4). During 20082010,
1.0 million adolescents and 4.6 million young adults used
Camel menthol, Marlboro menthol, or Newport.
The prevalence of Camel menthol use increased signicantly
among Caucasians in all age groups, among adolescent Blacks,
and among Hispanic young adults and adults (gure 2 and see
online supplementary table S5). The prevalence of smoking
Marlboro menthol cigarettes increased among Caucasians in all
age groups and among Black and Hispanic young adults.
Prevalence of use of Kool and Salem declined in some age cat-
egories, and Newport use increased among adult Blacks.
DISCUSSION
The analyses in this report indicate that youth are heavy consu-
mers of mentholated cigarettes and that overall menthol cigar-
ette smoking has either remained constant or increased from
20042010 in all three age groups, while non-menthol smoking
has decreased. We also document increased use of Camel
Table 2 Multivariate logistic regression analysis of correlates of use of menthol cigarettes among past 30-day smokers in the USA, 20082010
Factor N Menthol, % AOR 95% CI p Value
Age (years)
1215 1644 58.42 3.92 3.32 to 4.63 <0.0001
1617 3251 55.82 3.62 3.25 to 4.03 <0.0001
1821 10 095 48.37 2.61 2.34 to 2.90 <0.0001
2225 10 172 41.58 1.85 1.69 to 2.03 <0.0001
2634 5889 34.75 1.26 1.16 to 1.37 <0.0001
35+ 9755 30.61 Reference
Gender
Female 19 780 39.62 1.62 1.49 to 1.76 <0.0001
Male 21 026 31.40 Reference
Race/ethnicity
Non-Hispanic Black 4337 88.46 25.18 20.28 to 31.26 <0.0001
Non-Hispanic Asian 787 30.76 1.35 1.10 to 1.66 0.004
Non-Hispanic more than one race 1546 42.00 2.06 1.51 to 2.80 <0.0001
Non-Hispanic other 1227 45.19 2.26 1.64 to 3.12 <0.0001
Hispanic 5137 38.09 1.81 1.62 to 2.02 <0.0001
Non-Hispanic Caucasian 27 772 25.70 Reference
Household income
Lower tertile 11 971 40.64 0.95 0.84 to 1.08 0.44
Middle tertile 15 253 35.81 1.02 0.92 to 1.12 0.77
Higher tertile 13 582 31.21 Reference
Number of days smoked/month
15 days 8487 39.50 1.01 0.91 to 1.13 0.82
629 days 10 427 41.30 1.02 0.92 to 1.12 0.73
30 days 21 892 31.92 Reference
Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health 20082010. Self-reported menthol status was adjusted if necessary using retail checkout scanner data. Sample size=40 806.
4 Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159
Research paper
menthol and Marlboro menthol cigarettes, particularly among
young Caucasians and Hispanics. Camel menthol and Marlboro
menthol are emerging varieties of established youth brands.
23
Our ndings address previous concerns regarding misclassica-
tion of menthol smoking status by adjusting self-reported
menthol status with Nielsen retail checkout scanner data.
22
After such adjustment, we observed that more than half (56.7%)
of adolescent smokers preferred menthol cigarettes. Detailed
ndings are discussed below.
First, after controlling for confounders, younger age, even as
young as 1215 years old, was a signicant correlate of menthol
cigarette use. The relationship between age and menthol use
Figure 1 Trends in the prevalence of cigarette smoking (%) by type of cigarette smoked and age in the USA, 20042010. Source: National Survey
on Drug Use and Health. Self-reported menthol status was adjusted if necessary using retail checkout scanner data. NB: Scales for y-axis are
different across age groups. Menthol cigarette use represented by solid blue line; non-menthol cigarette use by broken red line. Error bars represent
95% CIs. Differences in slopes for menthol and non-menthol cigarette use in adolescents (p<0.001), young adults ( p<0.001) and adults
(p=0.0013). Sample size= 389 698.
Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159 5
Research paper
Table 3 Trends in the prevalence of cigarette smoking (%) by type of cigarette smoked and age, gender and race/ethnicity in the USA, 2004
2010
Percentage
Type of cigarette
smoked/factor 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Estimated
slope
p Value
for slope
p Value for difference
in slopes
1217 years:
Overall
Menthol 5.3 4.8 4.8 4.9 4.6 5.0 4.5 0.08 0.11 <0.001
Non-menthol 6.0 5.5 5.3 4.5 3.9 3.5 3.4 0.47 <0.001
Gender:
Male
Menthol 4.6 4.3 4.3 4.8 4.4 4.8 4.4 0.00 0.95 <0.001
Non-menthol 6.2 5.7 5.4 4.9 4.0 3.9 3.8 0.43 <0.001
Female
Menthol 6.0 5.3 5.3 5.0 4.8 5.1 4.7 0.18 0.01 <0.001
Non-menthol 5.8 5.2 5.1 4.2 3.8 3.0 3.0 0.52 <0.001
Race/ethnicity:
Non-Hispanic Caucasian
Menthol 5.8 4.8 4.9 5.5 4.8 5.2 5.1 0.02 0.79 <0.001
Non-menthol 8.1 7.5 7.2 6.3 5.2 5.0 4.2 0.69 <0.001
Non Hispanic Black
Menthol 5.3 6.1 5.7 5.8 4.9 4.8 4.2 0.23 0.04 0.11
Non-menthol 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.03 0.48
Hispanic
Menthol 3.7 4.3 4.2 3.1 3.8 4.6 3.8 0.01 0.90 0.30
Non-menthol 4.4 3.4 3.5 2.8 3.1 2.2 3.4 0.18 0.16
1825 years:
Overall
Menthol 14.0 13.7 14.1 14.2 14.6 15.9 16.3 0.45 0.003 <0.001
Non-menthol 25.7 25.3 24.2 21.6 20.4 19.6 17.3 1.48 <0.001
Gender:
Male
Menthol 14.4 14.0 14.4 14.9 15.4 16.3 17.0 0.50 0.001 <0.001
Non-menthol 29.5 28.9 27.3 25.2 23.7 23.6 20.2 1.57 <0.001
Female
Menthol 13.6 13.3 13.8 13.5 13.9 15.5 15.6 0.35 0.02 <0.001
Non-menthol 21.9 21.6 21.1 18.0 17.1 15.6 14.3 1.35 <0.001
Race/ethnicity:
Non-Hispanic Caucasian
Menthol 12.3 11.8 12.7 12.5 13.1 14.5 15.6 0.56 0.01 <0.001
Non-menthol 33.0 32.5 31.5 28.1 26.8 26.0 22.8 1.76 <0.001
Non Hispanic Black
Menthol 27.5 26.0 25.0 24.0 24.5 24.2 24.6 0.44 0.04 0.13
Non-menthol 2.0 2.3 1.7 1.8 1.2 1.9 1.5 0.10 0.21
Hispanic
Menthol 11.2 11.4 11.4 12.9 13.1 14.1 12.7 0.40 0.03 <0.001
Non-menthol 20.6 20.5 17.5 15.9 16.0 14.6 13.9 1.14 <0.001
26+ years:
Overall
Menthol 7.0 7.2 7.6 7.4 7.6 7.0 7.4 0.04 0.46 0.001
Non-menthol 16.9 17.2 16.8 16.4 15.9 16.1 15.3 0.28 0.002
Gender:
Male
Menthol 6.8 6.7 7.5 7.4 7.4 6.5 7.1 0.03 0.76 0.003
Non-menthol 20.3 20.7 19.9 19.4 18.8 18.5 18.2 0.40 <0.001
Female
Menthol 7.3 7.7 7.6 7.3 7.8 7.4 7.7 0.02 0.65 0.04
Non-menthol 13.9 14.1 14.0 13.7 13.3 13.9 12.7 0.17 0.07
Continued
6 Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159
Research paper
was consistently observed across gender, household income,
smoking days per month and in non-Hispanic Caucasians and
Hispanics. Although an age gradient was not observed among
Black smokers, young Black smokers were more likely than
those in other racial/ethnic groups to smoke menthol cigarettes.
Preference for menthol cigarettes by young people likely occurs
because of marketing practices
2427
and product formulation.
28
Analyses of tobacco industry documents conrm that young
smokers may pursue mentholated brands for anticipated pleas-
ure and may experience more pleasure and less harshness from
mentholated brands than from non-mentholated varieties.
26
Our data, which include the 1215-year-old age category,
control for household income and adjust for misclassication of
menthol status, expand the knowledge base on this topic.
Secondly, differential progress has been observed, with the
prevalence of smoking non-mentholated cigarettes declining
relatively more rapidly than that of mentholated cigarettes.
Increasing use of menthol relative to non-menthol cigarettes
among adolescent and young adult Caucasians and young adult
Hispanics is especially concerning, given the large numbers of
young people in each of these racial/ethnic groups. Increased
uptake of menthol cigarettes may have contributed to the
slowing of the decline of adolescent smoking that has occurred
since 2006.
29
Finally, there have been increases in use of several major
menthol cigarette brands overall and specically, among youth
and young adults from 20042006 to 20082010. Statistically
signicant declines in Salem cigarette use across all age groups
have been countered by dramatic increases in the use of Camel
menthol, Marlboro menthol and Newport cigarettes. For
example, among adolescents, Camel menthol use increased by
4.4% points and Marlboro menthol use increased by 5.5%
points during the study period. It is important to note that
Marlboro and Camel made stronger gains in the adolescent and
young adult markets, particularly so in Caucasians and
Hispanics, than Newport. This is consistent with evidence from
tobacco industry documents showing that several major tobacco
companies manipulated the levels of menthol in certain cigarette
brands to be closer to the low menthol levels in Newport and to
target younger smokers.
28
Increased use of several menthol
brands among young smokers have also been inuenced by the
introduction of new products, including Marlboro Milds
(2000), Camel No. 9 (2007), Marlboro Smooth (2007) and
Camel Crush (2008).
28 30
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated
the impact of menthol marketing efforts that have been targeted
to AfricanAmericans and women,
3134
including the marketing
of Camel No. 9 which was shown to target adolescent girls.
35
Given high rates of internet and social media use among adoles-
cents and young adults,
3638
increased use of Web 2.0 for
tobacco marketing may also play an important role in use of
particular brands among young smokers.
39 40
We believe it is
important for the FDA to monitor cigarette marketing for all
brands targeted to all demographic subgroups via channels such
as magazines, social media, the internet and direct mail, with
particular attention to differentiating specic brand characteris-
tics such as menthol.
41
Kahnert and colleagues at the German Cancer Research
Center have documented the recent spread, to at least 38 coun-
tries, of cigarette brands with menthol capsules in the lters.
42
These new products enable users to change the avour during
the smoking process from regular to menthol. Their marketing
targets young people. Tobacco companies involved include
British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip
Morris and RJ Reynolds, and in the US, these products are mar-
keted as Camel Crush and Marlboro NXT. In July 2013, the
European Union moved to ban menthol and avoured cigar-
ettes; while the FDA has already banned avoured cigarettes, it
recently called for more scientic information prior to deciding
on a menthol ban.
This study is limited in several ways. First, the denition of
menthol use is based on brand preference. We did not estimate
the number of mentholated and non-mentholated cigarettes
smoked during a period of time by each smoker. Rather, we esti-
mate the menthol status of the brand smoked most often.
Consistent with our ndings, market share of menthol increased
during the study period.
43
Second, we measured prevalence of
use and not incidence of initiation. However, prevalence in
young people is largely driven by initiation rather than migra-
tion, cessation, or death. Third, we did not assess sales data
prior to 2008. Nevertheless, brands such as Kool, Newport and
Salem have long been classied as mentholated brands.
22
Finally, our data (table 1) indicate that the use of menthol cigar-
ettes among older smokers was less common than among ado-
lescent and young adult smokers. It is impossible to discern
with serial cross-sectional data from 20042010 whether
smokers switched away from menthol cigarettes as they aged.
The ndings might simply indicate higher rates of menthol use
among more recent birth cohorts. Cohort surveys, with
Table 3 Continued
Percentage
Type of cigarette
smoked/factor 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Estimated
slope
p Value
for slope
p Value for difference
in slopes
Race/ethnicity:
Non-Hispanic Caucasian
Menthol 5.3 5.2 5.5 5.4 5.5 4.8 5.3 0.04 0.44 0.05
Non-menthol 19.7 19.8 19.0 19.1 18.6 18.9 18.1 0.23 <0.001
Non Hispanic Black
Menthol 21.7 21.9 21.7 21.4 24.0 21.1 22.0 0.05 0.81 0.40
Non-menthol 3.6 4.7 5.2 4.5 3.3 3.7 3.0 0.18 0.26
Hispanic
Menthol 5.3 6.6 7.0 6.9 6.0 7.3 7.7 0.27 0.07 0.02
Non-menthol 15.2 15.7 16.6 13.7 13.3 14.4 13.6 0.37 0.10
Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20042010. Respondents aged 12 years and older. Self-reported menthol status was adjusted if necessary using retail checkout scanner
data. Sample size=389 698.
Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159 7
Research paper
appropriate age groups, would facilitate the study of switching
behaviours.
The ndings of this study complement previous research on
avoured cigarettes,
7
nicotine dependence,
51213
and menthol
use among new smokers. The trend analyses reported here raise
important concerns about the deleterious effects of the sale and
marketing of mentholated cigarettes on progress in reducing
youth smoking. Overall decreases in non-menthol cigarette use
from 20042010 were not found for menthol use, indicating
that the presence of menthol cigarettes in the marketplace is
Figure 2 Percentage point change in prevalence of smoking various mentholated cigarette brands among past 30-day smokers by age and race/
ethnicity in the USA, 20042006 to 20082010. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Self-reported menthol status for Kool, Newport
and Salem was adjusted if necessary using retail checkout scanner data. NB: non-Hispanic Caucasians represented by blue bars; non-Hispanic Blacks
represented by red bars; Hispanics represented by green bars. * p<0.05, **p<0.001 for difference in prevalence between 20042006 and 2008
2010. Sample size= 84 457; 43 616 for 20042006 and 40 841 for 20082010.
8 Giovino GA, et al. Tob Control 2013;0:110. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051159
Research paper
slowing progress in the reduction of population smoking preva-
lence. Concerns about menthol cigarette use in the USA have
previously focused on Blacks, who primarily have smoked
Newport cigarettes in most recent years.
2
The data presented
here also raise concerns about the increasing use of Camel
menthol and Marlboro menthol cigarettes among Caucasian
and Hispanic youths. Data from this study should be used to
inform the FDAs decision-making processes regarding the
potential public health impact of a menthol ban and to raise
concern in multiple countries about the marketing of menthol-
ated cigarettes, particularly to young people.
What this paper adds
This study provides more precision than previous research on
the use of mentholated cigarettes among young people. In
the multivariable model, menthol use was found to be most
likely in 1215 year olds and 1617 year olds. The
multivariable analysis also controlled for household income,
taking socioeconomic status into account.
Previous work addressed trends in the percentage of
cigarette smokers who smoked menthol cigarettes. This
work presents trends in smoking menthol and non-menthol
cigarettes among all persons (not just cigarette smokers) in
each of the demographic categories examined, permitting
the conclusion that non-menthol cigarette use is declining
more rapidly than menthol cigarette use.
Finally, the paper documents the rise of Camel Menthol and
Marlboro Menthol brands among young people, particularly
Caucasians and Hispanics. The information presented here
should be useful to the US Food and Drug Administration
and also to many other countries, where menthol cigarettes
are being marketed to young people.
Author afliations
1
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health
and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York,
Buffalo, New York, USA
2
The Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy,
Washington, District of Columbia, USA
3
Department of Health, Behavior and Society, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School
of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
4
Biostatistics, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA
5
Department of Research and Evaluation, Legacy, Washington, District of Columbia,
USA
6
Department of Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Lombardi
Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Contributors GAG: conceived of the study. GAG and ACV: wrote the initial draft
of the manuscript. PDM and VS: conducted the data analysis. GAG, ACV, PDM, VS,
RSN, DMV and DBA: contributed to the analysis, interpretation of the data and to
the review, revision and approval of the nal article.
Funding This work was supported by Legacy. GAG, PDM and VS received
contractual support from Legacy for their work on this project. ACV, RSN, DMV and
DBA are employed at Legacy.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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... From 2000 to 2011, menthol cigarettes' market share was relatively stable, compared with non-menthol cigarettes, which declined over that period [7][8][9]. Moreover, a 2020 study of two decades of cigarette consumption and sales data demonstrated that menthol cigarettes are becoming increasingly dominant in the tobacco marketplace: menthol cigarette market shares have increased, while non-menthol cigarette shares have decreased, and 91% of the total decrease in cigarette consumption in the US from 2009 to 2018 can be attributed to non-menthol cigarettes [10]. ...
... When compared with Newport, a brand known historically for its menthol styles, Marlboro's menthol market share grew three times more than Newport's and by 2019, holding only 5% less share of the menthol market than Newport. In the modern cigarette marketplace, the availability of menthol in a tobacco brand's product lineup is important to grow a brand's market share [8], as declines in cigarette consumption overall are due to the declines in the use of non-menthol cigarettes, while menthol cigarettes gain market share [10]. ...
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... Despite this, Black individuals experience lower rates of smoking cessation [9,10]. In addition, Black smokers have historically been more likely to use mentholated cigarettes, with 70-85% reporting usual use of menthol cigarettes, compared to approximately 20-30% of White smokers [11]. By changing inhalation patterns [12,13], increasing nicotine dependence [14], and inhibiting smoking cessation [15][16][17], menthol-flavored cigarettes can affect smoking behavior. ...
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Background: Black cigarette smokers experience a disproportionate burden of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to other racial and ethnic groups, despite starting to smoke later in life, smoking less frequently, and smoking fewer cigarettes per day compared with White smokers. Research has shown that these disparities in NSCLC are wider in rural areas. Objective: To examine differences in smoking behaviors between Black and White individuals living in non-metropolitan areas and metropolitan areas. Methods: Using harmonized data from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) years 2010-2011, 2014-2015, and 2018-2019, we compared smoking behaviors between Black and White current and former smokers by metropolitan status (i.e., whether an individual lives in a densely populated area or not) and by both metropolitan status and sex. Results: Smoking prevalence was higher among White participants living in non-metropolitan versus Black participants. Further, in non-metropolitan areas, Black individuals reported smoking fewer cigarettes per day, fewer years of smoking, and a later age of initiation compared to White individuals. Additionally, Black individuals, especially men, were more likely than White individuals to be current non-daily smokers. Conclusions: Our findings show that Black individuals living in non-metropolitan areas do not, in aggregate, have more cigarette smoking exposure relative to White individuals. Additional research is needed to further understand smoking-related exposures and other factors that may contribute to lung cancer disparities, especially in non-metropolitan areas.
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E-cigarettes with cooling flavours have diversified in ways that complicate tobacco control with the emergence of: (1) Ice-hybrid flavours (eg, 'Raspberry Ice') that combine cooling and fruity/sweet properties; and (2) Products containing non-menthol synthetic cooling agents (eg, Wilkinson Sword (WS), WS-3, WS-23 (termed 'koolada')). This paper reviews the background, chemistry, toxicology, marketing, user perceptions, use prevalence and policy implications of e-cigarette products with ice-hybrid flavours or non-menthol coolants. Scientific literature search supplemented with industry-generated and user-generated information found: (a) The tobacco industry has developed products containing synthetic coolants since 1974, (b) WS-3 and WS-23 are detected in mass-manufactured e-cigarettes (eg, PuffBar); (c) While safe for limited oral ingestion, inhalational toxicology and health effects from daily synthetic coolant exposure are unknown and merit scientific inquiry and attention from regulatory agencies; (d) Ice-hybrid flavours are marketed with themes incorporating fruitiness and/or coolness (eg, snow-covered raspberries); (e) WS-23/WS-3 concentrates also are sold as do-it-yourself additives, (f) Pharmacology research and user-generated and industry-generated information provide a premise to hypothesise that e-cigarette products with ice flavours or non-menthol cooling agents generate pleasant cooling sensations that mask nicotine's harshness while lacking certain aversive features of menthol-only products, (g) Adolescent and young adult use of e-cigarettes with ice-hybrid or other cooling flavours may be common and cross-sectionally associated with more frequent vaping and nicotine dependence in convenience samples. Evidence gaps in the epidemiology, toxicology, health effects and smoking cessation-promoting potential of using these products exist. E-cigarettes with ice flavours or synthetic coolants merit scientific and regulatory attention.
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Several cities, but only two U.S states, have passed a law banning the sales of flavored tobacco products. It has been suggested that framing tobacco control policy solely in terms of the youth could send the erroneous message that tobacco use is an acceptable behavior for adults. This study was intended to compare the framing of policy between California’s Senate Bill (SB) 38 and 793. Seven audio files of hearings on SB-38 (N=2) and SB-793 (N=5), held between March 2019 and August 2020, were transcribed and coded for youth issues and the unprecedented events of 2020 that shaped society’s views of health and racial/social justice. The Framework Method was used for organizing and analyzing content of the legislative hearings. Many of the same arguments pertaining to youth were presented in hearings on the two bills. The one notable difference was legislators’ sense of obligation to younger constituents, which was expressed in hearings on SB-793, but not SB-38. The hearings on SB-793 also differed with respect to greater discussion about the relevance of a tobacco flavor ban to society as a whole. These discussions revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic and potential impact of a ban on communities of color. Discussions on SB-793 about the larger societal impact of flavored tobacco may be a more effective strategy than focusing exclusively on the youth. Thus, legislators from other U.S. states who are contemplating a statewide ban should consider reframing the issue according to California’s SB-793.
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Tobacco flavors increase the attractiveness of a tobacco brand and ultimately promote addiction. Information about what flavor and how much flavor is in flavor capsules can provide an effective way to regulate tobacco flavor. In this study, 128 flavor chemicals were identified and quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using libraries and authentic standards. Validation of the developed method was performed for interference, detection limits, calibration curves, accuracy, and precision. Menthol was the main ingredient in all capsules, and the carcinogenic pulegone was detected. Detected menthofuran, benzyl alcohol, geraniol, and eugenol cause toxic or severe irritation, and detected lactones can increase nicotine addiction by inhibiting nicotine metabolism in smokers. Margin of exposures for carcinogenic pulegone and non-carcinogenic menthol were well below safety thresholds, indicating a significant risk of inhalation exposure. It is desirable to prohibit the use of flavor capsules in consideration of human risk.
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OBJECTIVES Studies have assessed switching away from cigarettes among adult smokers who use electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), but there is little data assessing differences in likelihood of switching or ENDS use characteristics by menthol smoking METHODS Adult (age≥21) established smokers who purchased a JUUL Starter Kit (N=15,036) completed baseline and 1-, 2-, 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-month assessments. Switching (no past-30-day cigarette smoking) and flavor use were assessed at each follow-up. Repeated-measure logistic regression models evaluated association of menthol smoking and switching across 1 year RESULTS Across the 6 follow-ups, more menthol smokers primarily used Menthol/Mint-flavored JUULpods (53.8%) than nonmenthol smokers (22.9%). Only 6.4% of menthol smokers primarily used Tobacco flavors (vs. 25.9% of nonmenthol smokers). Across all follow-ups menthol smokers (41.2% of sample) were more likely to switch than nonmenthol smokers (42.6% vs. 38.8%: OR[95% CI]=1.17[1.11, 1.23]); this association remained significant after adjustment for sociodemographic, smoking and JUUL use covariates (aOR[95% CI]=1.13[1.05, 1.21]). Nonmenthol smokers, but not menthol smokers, were significantly more likely to switch when primarily using Menthol/Mint-flavored (vs. Tobacco-flavored) JUULpods (aOR[95% CI]=1.14[1.04, 1.25]). Differences in baseline smoking characteristics between menthol and nonmenthol smokers were small in magnitude. CONCLUSIONS Adult menthol (vs. nonmenthol) smokers using JUUL were more likely to switch. More than twice as many menthol (vs. nonmenthol) smokers primarily used Menthol/Mint-flavor JUULpods; few menthol smokers used tobacco flavors. Given these pronounced differences in flavor preferences, availability of ENDS in menthol flavors may be particularly important for menthol smokers, but may also benefit some nonmenthol smokers.
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We examined whether tobacco manufacturers manipulate the menthol content of cigarettes in an effort to target adolescents and young adults. We analyzed data from tobacco industry documents describing menthol product development, results of laboratory testing of US menthol brands, market research reports, and the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The tobacco industry attracted new smokers by promoting cigarettes with lower menthol content, which were popular with adolescents and young adults, and provided cigarettes with higher menthol content to long-term smokers. Menthol cigarette sales remained stable from 2000 to 2005 in the United States, despite a 22% decline in overall packs sold. Tobacco companies manipulate the sensory characteristics of cigarettes, including menthol content, thereby facilitating smoking initiation and nicotine dependence. Menthol brands that have used this strategy have been the most successful in attracting youth and young adult smokers and have grown in popularity.
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Since the 1920s, menthol has been added to cigarettes and used as a characterizing flavor. The health effects of cigarette smoking are well documented, however the health effects of menthol cigarettes as compared to non-menthol cigarettes is less well studied. This review discusses menthol's effects on 1) biomarkers of tobacco smoke exposure, 2) toxicity and cellular effects, 3) lung function and respiration, 4) pulmonary and/or vascular function, 5) allergic reactions and inflammation, and 6) tobacco-related diseases. It is concluded that menthol is a biologically active compound that has effects by itself and in conjunction with nicotine, however much of the data on the other areas of interest are inconclusive and firm conclusions cannot be drawn.
Conference Paper
Today, over 70% of African American smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, compared with 30% of White smokers. This unique social phenomenon was principally occasioned by the tobacco industry's masterful manipulation of the burgeoning Black, urban, segregated, consumer market in the 1960s. Through the use of television and other advertising media, coupled with culturally tailored images and messages, the tobacco industry "African Americanized" menthol cigarettes. The tobacco industry successfully positioned mentholated products, especially Kool, as young, hip, new, and healthy. During the time that menthols were gaining a large market share in the African American community, the tobacco industry donated funds to African American organizations hoping to blunt the attack on their products. Many of the findings in this article are drawn from the tobacco industry documents disclosed following the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998. After a short review of the origins and growth of menthols, this article examines some key social factors that, when considered together, led to disproportionate use of mentholated cigarettes by African Americans compared with other Americans. Unfortunately, the long-term impact of the industry's practice in this community may be partly responsible for the disproportionately high tobacco-related disease and mortality among African Americans generally and African American males particularly.
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We aimed to assess whether young people who first tried menthol cigarettes were at greater risk of becoming established smokers and dependent on nicotine than young people who started smoking non-menthol cigarettes. Cohort study using data from the American Legacy Longitudinal Tobacco Use Reduction Study (ALLTURS), a three-wave longitudinal school-based survey of middle school and high school students. Regression methods were used to assess the association between initiation with menthol cigarettes on risk of transitioning to established smoking or quitting from a non-smoking state at baseline and on nicotine dependence score at wave 3. The study was conducted in 83 schools in seven communities and five states in the United States. Analyses were restricted to youth who participated in all three waves of ALLTURS, were younger than age 17 at baseline, and had initiated smoking during waves 1 or 2 of the study. Outcomes were indicators of a transition to established smoking or non-smoking from non-established smoking and a nicotine dependence score. The key explanatory variables were an indicator of initiation with menthol cigarettes and indicators for pattern of menthol use over time. Initiating smoking with menthol cigarettes was associated with progression to established smoking [odds ratio (OR) = 1.80, confidence interval (CI): 1.02–3.16] and higher levels of nicotine dependence (β = 1.25, CI: 0.1–2.4). Young people in the United States who start smoking menthol cigarettes are at greater risk of progression to regular smoking and nicotine dependence than are young people who start smoking non-menthol cigarettes.
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This paper reviews how the tobacco industry is promoting its products online and examines possible regulation models to limit exposure to this form of marketing. Opportunities to use new media to advance tobacco control are also discussed and future research possibilities are proposed. Published articles and grey literature reports were identified through searches of the electronic databases, PUBMED and Google Scholar using a combination of the following search terms: tobacco or smoking and new media, online media, social media, internet media, Web 2.0, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. A possible obstacle to fully realising the benefits of regulating tobacco marketing activities and effectively communicating tobacco control messages is the rapid evolution of the media landscape. New media also offer the tobacco industry a powerful and efficient channel for rapidly countering the denormalising strategies and policies of tobacco control. Evidence of tobacco promotion through online media is emerging, with YouTube being the most researched social media site in the tobacco control field. The explosive rise in Internet use and the shift to these new media being driven by consumer generated content through social platforms may mean that fresh approaches to regulating tobacco industry marketing are needed.
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To describe advertising, promotions, and pack prices for the leading brands of menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes near California high schools and to examine their associations with school and neighborhood demographics. In stores (n = 407) within walking distance (0.8 km [1/2 mile]) of California high schools (n = 91), trained observers counted ads for menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes and collected data about promotions and prices for Newport and Marlboro, the leading brand in each category. Multilevel modeling examined the proportion of all cigarette advertising for any menthol brand, the proportion of stores with sales promotions, and the lowest advertised pack price in relation to store types and school/neighborhood demographics. For each 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of Black students, the proportion of menthol advertising increased by 5.9 percentage points (e.g., from an average of 25.7%-31.6%), the odds of a Newport promotion were 50% higher (95% CI = 1.01, 2.22), and the cost of Newport was 12 cents lower (95% CI = -0.18, -0.06). By comparison, the odds of a promotion and the price for Marlboro, the leading brand of nonmenthol cigarettes, were unrelated to any school or neighborhood demographics. In high school neighborhoods, targeted advertising exposes Blacks to more promotions and lower prices for the leading brand of menthol cigarettes. This evidence contradicts the manufacturer's claims that the availability of its promotions is not based on race/ethnicity. It also highlights the need for tobacco control policies that would limit disparities in exposure to retail marketing for cigarettes.