The marketing of menthol cigarettes in the United States: populations, messages, and channels

Nicotine Tob Res. 2004 Feb;6 Suppl 1:S83-91. doi: 10.1080/14622203310001649504.


This commentary looks at the marketing menthol cigarettes to various targeted populations--women, middle school youth and Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants as well as African Americans. The authors take the position that "ethnic awareness" as evidenced in the advertising of menthol cigarette brands to African Americans is just one of four distinct messages that tobacco marketers have used for what they have termed the "coolness" category. The other messages are: healthy/medicinal; fresh/refreshing/cool/clean/crisp; and youthfulness/silliness and fun. The commentary poses three questions: (a) Are new population segments being steered toward menthol cigarettes using marketing approaches that are similar to what has occurred with African Americans and women? (b) What exactly is the relationship between the marketing of menthol cigarettes and subsequent use of menthol tobacco products by specific population subgroups? (c) Are there lessons to be learned from the marketing of menthol cigarettes that can be used to improve the public health and medical communities' smoking cessation and tobacco use prevention communications efforts?

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mass Media*
  • Menthol*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Taste
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Menthol