March 25, 2011 - A survey conducted this month, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, uncovers the perceptions and habits of menthol cigarette smokers, particularly among African Americans, who disproportionately smoke menthols over any other group.(1) The survey shows that menthol smokers feel "twice-addicted" – both to the menthol and to the tobacco – and most are attracted by the taste and feel of menthol cigarettes.(1) Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of menthol smokers believe that menthol makes it easier for them to inhale, when almost 40 percent say that menthol flavoring is the only reason they smoke.(1)
Additionally, if the FDA were to ban menthol cigarettes, four out of five menthol smokers (82 percent) say they are likely to try quitting.(1)
"Almost all menthol smokers in the survey reported they want to quit, but were less likely to have tried quitting than regular smokers. They are also less likely to have tried using treatment," said Cedric Bright*, M.D., president-elect of the National Medical Association and associate professor of medicine in the Departments of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. "With the high interest in quitting among these smokers, more needs to be done to educate smokers about accessible resources, such as counseling and nicotine replacement therapy, which are proven methods for improving success rates. ("Dr. Bright is a paid spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare but his opinions regarding smoking cessation are his own.)
An online survey was conducted among 616 adult smokers in the U.S., including 308 menthol cigarette smokers and 308 regular (non-menthol) cigarette smokers. The sample included 252 African American smokers (a deliberate oversample), including 152 menthol smokers, and 100 regular smokers. For analysis, sample data were statistically weighted by race, gender, income, and menthol versus non-menthol smoking to accurately reflect the current population of adult smokers on each of these dimensions. Weighting was based on data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by United States Department of Health and Human Services. Data were collected between March 2 and March 10, 2011. Survey design, data collection, and analysis were done by Versta Research and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.(1)
Reference: New Survey Finds Menthol Smokers Feel "Twice-Addicted" Ban on Menthols Seen as an Opportunity to Quit, Particularly among African Americans, PR Newswire, 3/24/2011.