Mentholated cigarette smoking among youth rising at alarming rate

Washington, Sept 1 (ANI): A new study has found an increase in menthol cigarette smoking among young adults, indicating that efforts to reduce smoking are being thwarted by the sale and marketing of mentholated cigarettes.

"Our findings indicate that youth are heavy consumers of mentholated cigarettes, and that overall menthol cigarette smoking has either remained constant or increased in all three age groups we studied, while non-menthol smoking has decreased," lead researcher Gary Giovino, PhD, professor and chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Community Health and Health Behaviors, said.

Giovino, one of the world's leading tobacco surveillance researchers, estimated menthol and non-menthol cigarette use during 2004-10 using annual data on nearly 390,000 persons 12 years old and older who took part in the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. The data included more than 84,000 smokers.

The results showed that among cigarette smokers, menthol cigarette use was more common among 12-17 year olds (56.7 percent) and 18-25 year olds (45 percent) than among older persons (range 30.5 percent to 32.9 percent).

Menthol use was associated with being younger, female, and of non-white race or ethnicity.

Among all adolescents, the percentage of people who smoked non-menthol cigarettes decreased from 2004-10, while menthol smoking rates remained constant.

Among all young adults, the percent who smoked non-menthol cigarettes also declined, while menthol smoking rates increased.

The use of Camel menthol and Marlboro menthol increased among adolescent and young adult smokers, particularly non-Hispanic whites, during the study period.

The study is published online in the international journal, Tobacco Control. (ANI)