Donate to Science & Enterprise

S&E on Mastodon

S&E on LinkedIn

S&E on Flipboard

Please share Science & Enterprise

Menthol Cigarette Smoking Rising Among Teens, Young Adults

Hand holding cigarette (NIMH)

(National Institute of Mental Health)

Public health researchers from University at Buffalo in New York found smoking of mentholated cigarettes is increasing among teenagers and young adults in the U.S., while smoking of non-menthol cigarettes declined in this age group. The findings of the team led by Buffalo’s Gary Giovino — with colleagues from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities,  Biostatistics Inc. in Atlanta, and the advocacy group Legacy in Washington, D.C. that funded the study — appear online today in the journal Tobacco Control (paid subscription required).

Giovino and colleagues analyzed data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health that asks about smoking behavior, as well as alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-medical use of prescription medications.  The team extracted data from 390,000 individuals age 12 or higher for the years 2004 through 2010, including 84,000 smokers.

The researchers found a majority (57%) of smokers age 12 to 17 and nearly half (45%) of smokers age 18 to 25 used menthol cigarettes, while one-third or less of older smokers lit up with menthol cigarettes. The rate of non-menthol smoking declined for both teens and young adults declined over the 2004-2010 period, while the percentage smoking menthol cigarettes remained constant among teens and rose for young adults.

Menthol cigarette use , say the researchers, was most associated with younger, female, and non-Caucasian smokers. However, they found smoking of Camel menthol and Marlboro menthol brands increasing among both teens and young adults, particularly non-Hispanic Caucasians.

Giovino points to the data showing the preference of younger smokers for menthol flavor, calling these cigarettes, “a ‘starter product’ for kids in part because menthol makes it easier to inhale for beginners.” He adds that “menthol sweetens the poison, making it easier to smoke. ”

In July 2013, Food and Drug Administration asked for public input on proposed new rules for menthol cigarettes, including sales restrictions and product standards. FDA also announced its own studies of menthol cigarettes and smoking cessation, racial and ethnic differences in menthol smoking, and toxins and carcinogens from menthol and non-menthol cigarettes.

Read more:

Elsewhere on Science & Enterprise . . .

*     *     *

Comments are closed.