The association between neighborhood racial composition and menthol cigarette pricing in Boston, MA

Health Place. 2019 Jul;58:102144. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102144. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the relationship between neighborhood demographics and pack prices of four brands of mentholated and non-mentholated cigarettes in Boston, Massachusetts.

Methods: Using tobacco pricing survey data collected July 2015 to June 2016, we examined cigarette prices in tobacco retailers (n = 689) located in block groups (n = 325) of Boston. Multilevel models examined both the association of menthol and non-menthol cigarette prices, and the percentage of retailers selling cigarettes below established minimum price in relation to neighborhood demographics.

Results: Each 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of black residents per block group was associated with a price decrease of 3 cents for menthol cigarettes (p < 0.01). Each 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of black residents per block group was associated with a 19 percentage point increase in proportion of retailers selling menthol cigarettes ≥25 cents below minimum price (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Mentholated cigarettes were priced significantly lower in neighborhoods of color in Boston. Strengthened pricing laws, with consideration given to menthol products in the retail environment, may be needed to address environmental contributors to smoking disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Boston
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Menthol
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Products / economics*

Substances

  • Menthol