Use of Menthol Cigarettes Up in US Adults From 2008 to 2020

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Among cigarette smokers, menthol use most common among Black and Hispanic adults, younger adults

HealthDay News — Menthol use has increased over the past decade among US adults who smoke cigarettes, according to a study published online October 13 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Renee D. Goodwin, PhD, from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues used data from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (from the 2008 to 2019 and 2020) to estimate the prevalence of menthol use among US adults and assess changes in menthol use over time.

The researchers found that in 2020, 43.4% of adults who smoked cigarettes in the past month used menthol. Menthol use was most common among Black adults (80%) and among adults who were Hispanic, female, young (ages 18 to 34 years), lesbian/gay; those with serious psychological distress; and those also using cigars (over 50% for all). Among adults who used cigarettes from 2008 to 2019, menthol use increased overall, but grew more rapidly among adults aged 26 to 34 years, Hispanics, light cigarette users (1 to 5 per day), and those who smoked cigars.

“Data from 2020 demonstrate that the increase in menthol use among smokers over the past decade was broadly evident across subgroups,” Goodwin said in a statement. “Our results suggest that banning menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes by the US Food and Drug Administration could have a widespread impact on public health, especially among younger people and marginalized groups.”

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