Introduction: Little is known about the influence of prepartum menthol cigarette use on postpartum smoking abstinence or how race/ethnicity might moderate this relationship. The current study addressed that gap by testing these relationships among racially/ethnically diverse women who quit smoking during pregnancy (N = 244; 33% African American, 31% Latina, 36% White).
Methods: Continuation ratio logit models were used to examine the effects of prepartum menthol cigarette use on biochemically confirmed, continuous abstinence through 26 weeks postpartum using an intent-to-treat approach. Analyses controlled for age, race/ethnicity, partner status, income, education, treatment, number of prequit cigarettes smoked per day, time to the first cigarette of the day, and time (Week 8 or 26 data collection timepoint). An additional model tested the moderating effects of race/ethnicity by including an interaction term.
Results: Prepartum menthol cigarette use was not significantly associated with postpartum smoking abstinence in the overall sample. However, the interaction between menthol use and race/ethnicity was significant (p = .02). Among White women, menthol use was associated with significantly lower odds of maintaining postpartum smoking abstinence (p = .03; odds ratio = .19 [.04-.89]), and the effect approached significance among African American women (p = .08).
Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that prepartum menthol cigarette use may increase the risk of postpartum smoking relapse among White, and possibly African American, women who quit smoking during or immediately before pregnancy. Results suggest that White and African American prepartum menthol users may require different or more intensive cessation services to aid in the maintenance of postpartum smoking abstinence. Replication with larger samples, and a focus on understanding the mechanisms that underlie these relationships, are warranted.