Graduating From Menthol: Recommended Reading

May 18, 2012, 3:02 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

A new study released online yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health finds that young smokers are more likely to progress from tobacco products with menthol to non-mentholated versions in just a short period of time. The study, which looked at switching between menthol and non-menthol brands of cigarettes over a two year period by young people ages 16 through 24, was conducted by researchers at the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy Foundation, and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Menthol is the only flavoring that was not banned by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that became law almost three years ago.

The researchers found that the youngest menthol smokers were most likely to switch to non-menthol cigarettes. "We know that a majority of African American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes," says Andrea Villanti, PhD, the study’s lead author. “The lack of switching among these smokers may reflect the predominance of menthol brands in African American communities throughout the lifespan," said Villanti. "Banning menthol could prevent a significant portion of youth smoking initiation and help many smokers – including African Americans – quit by disrupting the progression of experimentation to regular smoking," says Villanti.

>>Read the study and more about the findings.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.