Objectives: This study examines measures of nicotine dependence among adolescent menthol and non-menthol cigarette smokers in a nationally representative sample.
Methods: We examined rates of menthol smoking and measures of nicotine dependence among 1345 current established smokers in grades 9-12 who participated in the 2004 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Logistic regression was used to generate an adjusted odds ratio (OR) for menthol smoking for four measures of nicotine dependence, controlling for demographic characteristics and smoking patterns.
Results: Approximately 46% of all current established cigarette smokers were menthol smokers. Menthol smokers had 2.6 and 1.6 greater odds than non-menthol smokers for reporting that they could go for less than 1 h before feeling like they need a cigarette and that they experience cravings after not smoking for a while, respectively.
Conclusions: Menthol cigarette smoking was associated with two dependence measures and may be more addictive than regular cigarettes in young smokers. Future research should continue to explore relationships between dependency and menthol use as well as the high prevalence of menthol use among adolescents.