Objectives: We compared quit attempts and quit rates among menthol and nonmenthol cigarette smokers in the United States.
Methods: We used data from the 2003 and 2006-2007 waves of the large, nationally representative Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey with control for state-level tobacco control spending, prices, and smoke-free air laws. We estimated mean prevalence, quit rates, and multivariate logistic regression equations by using self-respondent weights for menthol and nonmenthol smokers.
Results: In 2003 and 2007, 70% of smokers smoked nonmenthol cigarettes, 26% smoked menthol cigarettes, and 4% had no preference. Quit attempts were 4.3% higher in 2003 and 8.8% higher in 2007 among menthol than nonmenthol smokers. The likelihood of quitting was 3.5% lower for quitting in the past year and 6% lower for quitting in the past 5 years in menthol compared with nonmenthol smokers. Quit success in the past 5 years was further eroded among menthol-smoking Blacks and young adults.
Conclusions: Menthol smokers are more likely to make quit attempts, but are less successful at staying quit. The creation of menthol preference through marketing may reduce quit success.