African Americans and the general public support banning menthol in cigarettes

May 12, 2011, Massachusetts General Hospital

According to a new study released online today, a majority of Americans, including most African Americans, stand together in support of banning menthol in cigarettes just as other cigarette flavorings have now been banned by the FDA. According to established reports, 83 percent of African American smokers and 24 percent of white smokers smoke menthol cigarettes.

This new study was done by the Center for Child and Adolescent at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), the American Academy of Pediatrics' Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence, and the American Legacy Foundation. It will appear in print in the May 12 issue of the .

"For decades, the has heavily marketed to minority communities and as a result, the menthol smoking rates in those communities are disproportionately high. Our research shows that African Americans and the general public want the simple justice of removing menthol from cigarettes," said Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, of MGHfC and the lead author of the study. "The cigarette is one of the most highly engineered products ever created and each additive has a specific purpose. Menthol cigarette flavoring plays a key role in promoting smoking by numbing the throat, promoting early smoking, and allowing the smoke to go in deeper at an earlier stage of smoking."

In this study, investigators conducted a nationally representative telephone survey conducted in November 2009. Out of 2,560 eligible respondents contacted, 1514 (59 percent) completed surveys. Due to the large percentage of African American smokers using menthol, an additional 427 African American individuals were contacted, following the same protocol, to obtain more precise estimates of attitudes in this group. Within that group, 303 (75.7 percent) completed the survey. The two samples were analyzed separately.

Results showed that overall support among adults for banning menthol in cigarettes was 56.1 percent. The number of African Americans in the original sample who also supported prohibiting menthol was 68.0 percent along with 53.4 percent whites. Among respondents aged 18 to 24 years, 50.3 percent supported a ban on menthol; among respondents with less than a high school diploma, 71.2 percent supported a ban. Among women, 64.7 percent supported a ban on menthols.

"Menthol should be removed from cigarettes period. The tobacco industry has profited enough off the African American community," said Winickoff who is also an associate professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and affiliated with the Richmond Center of Excellence.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

that_guy
not rated yet May 12, 2011
Recent studies show that menthol is no worse than regular cigarettes. I think that banning it is kind of stupid and preferential.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.