Primary measures of dependence among menthol compared to non-menthol cigarette smokers in the United States

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Aug;69(3):451-66. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2014.05.011. Epub 2014 May 20.


Previously published studies provide somewhat inconsistent evidence on whether menthol in cigarettes is associated with increased dependence. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, National Health Interview Survey, and Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey collect data on current cigarette type preference and primary measures of dependence, and thus allow examination of whether menthol smokers are more dependent than non-menthol smokers. Analyses based on combined data from multiple administrations of each of these four nationally representative surveys, using three definitions for current smokers (i.e., smoked ⩾1day, ⩾10days and daily during the past month), consistently demonstrate that menthol smokers do not report smoking more cigarettes per day than non-menthol smokers. Moreover, two of the three surveys that provide data on time to first cigarette after waking indicate no difference in urgency to smoke among menthol compared to non-menthol smokers, while the third suggests menthol smokers may experience a greater urgency to smoke; estimates from all three surveys indicate that menthol versus non-menthol smokers do not report a higher Heaviness of Smoking Index. Collectively, these findings indicate no difference in dependence among U.S. smokers who use menthol compared to non-menthol cigarettes.

Keywords: Cigarette; Cigarettes per day; Dependence; Menthol; Time to first cigarette.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menthol / adverse effects*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Products / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Menthol