What would menthol smokers do if menthol in cigarettes were banned? Behavioral intentions and simulated demand

Addiction. 2012 Jul;107(7):1330-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03822.x. Epub 2012 Apr 4.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Commerce
  • Economics, Behavioral
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Menthol*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Menthol