Aims: To determine whether African American light smokers who smoked menthol cigarettes had lower cessation when treated with nicotine replacement therapy and counseling.
Design: Data were derived from a clinical trial that assessed the efficacy of 2 mg nicotine gum (versus placebo) and counseling (motivational interviewing counseling versus Health Education) for smoking cessation among African American light smokers (smoked < or = 10 cigarettes per day).
Participants: The sample consisted of 755 African American light smokers.
Measurements: The primary outcome variable was verified 7-day point-prevalence smoking cessation at 26 weeks follow-up. Verification was by salivary cotinine.
Findings: Compared to non-menthol smokers, menthol smokers were younger and less confident to quit smoking (P = 0.023). At 26 weeks post-randomization, 7-day verified abstinence rate was significantly lower for menthol smokers (11.2% versus 18.8% for non-menthol, P = 0.015).
Conclusions: Among African American light smokers, use of menthol cigarettes is associated with lower smoking cessation rates. Because the majority of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes, a better understanding of the mechanism for this lower quit rate is needed.