Menthol Smoking Patterns and Smoking Perceptions Among Youth: Findings From the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study

Amy M. Cohn, Shyanika W. Rose, Joanne D'Silva, Andrea C. Villanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Youth may be attracted to menthol cigarettes because they are perceived as less harmful and harsh to smoke relative to non-menthol cigarettes. This study examined demographic factors and menthol cigarette smoking patterns as correlates of youth harm perceptions of cigarette smoking and ease of smoking menthol versus non-menthol cigarettes. Methods: Data were from the Wave 1 (2013–2014) youth sample of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Weighted multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine correlations between demographic factors and menthol cigarette smoking patterns (menthol initiation, past 30-day menthol cigarette smoking, and menthol cigarette brand preference), with harm perceptions of cigarette smoking and ease of smoking a menthol cigarette. Results: Nearly half of ever cigarette smoking youth (43%) first used a menthol cigarette; 21% reported past 30-day menthol cigarette smoking; and 42% of past 30-day smokers providing brand information used a menthol cigarette as their preferred brand. In bivariate analyses, initiation with a menthol cigarette and menthol brand preference (versus non-menthol) were correlated with black race, older age at initiation, and past 30-day menthol cigarette smoking. In adjusted models, past 30-day menthol cigarette smoking and menthol cigarette brand preference, but not menthol initiation, were correlated with the perception that menthol cigarettes are easier to smoke. Conclusions: Youth who smoke menthol cigarettes perceive them as easier to smoke, even after adjusting for other factors. Age of initiation and black race emerged as correlates of menthol cigarette initiation, brand preference, and cigarette harm perceptions, and may inform future prevention campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e107-e116
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACV was supported by the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence P20GM103644 award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Cancer Institute of NIH under Award Number R03CA212694. AMC was supported by R01DA046359-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or the Food and Drug Administration .

Funding Information:
ACV was supported by the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence P20GM103644 award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Cancer Institute of NIH under Award Number R03CA212694. AMC was supported by R01DA046359-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or the Food and Drug Administration.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Journal of Preventive Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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