Aims: The US Food and Drug Administration must consider whether to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes. This study examines how current smokers might respond to such a ban on menthol cigarettes.
Design: Convenience sample of adolescent and adult smokers recruited from an online survey panel.
Setting: United States, 2010.
Participants: A total of 471 adolescent and adult current cigarette smokers.
Measurements: Respondents were asked a series of questions about how they might react if menthol cigarettes were banned. In addition, participants completed a simulation purchase task to estimate the demand for menthol and non-menthol cigarettes across a range of prices.
Findings: Overall, 36.1% of respondents said they always (18.9%) or usually (17.2%) smoked menthol cigarettes. When asked how they might respond to a ban on menthol cigarettes, 35% of current menthol smokers said they would stop smoking, and 25% said they would 'find a way to buy a menthol brand'. Those who reported they might quit tended to have greater current intentions to quit [odds ratio (OR) = 4.47], while those who reported that they might seek illicit menthol cigarettes were far less likely to report current intentions to quit (OR = 0.06). Estimates for demand elasticity for preferred cigarette type were similar for menthol (α = 0.0051) and non-menthol (α = 0.0049) smokers. Demand elasticity and peak consumption were related to usual cigarette type and cigarettes smoked per day, but did not appear to differ by race, gender or age.
Conclusions: Preliminary evidence suggests that a significant minority of smokers of menthol cigarettes in the United States would try to stop smoking altogether if such cigarettes were banned.
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction.