Menthol in cigarettes has been examined for its potential to affect smoking dependence, measured primarily as number of cigarettes smoked per day and time to first cigarette after waking; the ability to quit smoking constitutes an additional measure of dependence. Successful quitting among menthol compared to non-menthol cigarette smokers is difficult to determine from the literature, due in part to the various definitions of quitting used by researchers. Nevertheless, intervention and follow-up studies of smoking cessation treatments generally indicate no differences in quitting success among menthol compared to non-menthol smokers, while cross-sectional studies suggest some differences within race/ethnicity groups. The association between menthol cigarette use and likelihood of being a former versus current smoker was examined based on data from the National Health Interview Survey and Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Analyses stratified by race/ethnicity and limited to smokers who had quit at least one year prior to survey participation provided inconsistent results with regard to menthol cigarette use and quitting, both within surveys (i.e., comparing race/ethnicity groups) and between surveys (i.e., same race/ethnicity group across surveys). Evidence suggesting the existence or direction of an association between menthol in cigarettes and quitting depended on the data source.
Keywords: Cigarette; Cigarette type preference; Former smokers; Menthol; Quitting smoking.
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