Banning Menthol Cigarettes Could Promote Cessation Among Some Individuals

Row of 5 menthol cigarettes
Using the Population Assessment of Tobacco Health Study (PATH), researchers evaluated whether banning menthol cigarettes has the potential to have a more favorable impact on smoking cessation in the United States.

A longitudinal study found that banning menthol cigarettes has the potential to have a more favorable impact on smoking cessation among Black individuals in the United States, especially for those who have access to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). These findings were published in Preventive Medicine.

The Population Assessment of Tobacco Health Study (PATH) was conducted in the US in 4 waves between 2013 and 2018. Smoking cessation was defined as self-reported 30-day abstinence from cigarette smoking. Smoking cessation was evaluated on the basis of ethnicity and use of e-cigarettes.

The study population (N=7423) was comprised 28.6% individuals aged 25-34 years, 45.9% aged 35-54 years, and 24.3% aged ≥55 years; 53.0% were men; 67.8% were White, 14.4% Black, 10.4% Hispanic, and 5.4% other; 54.5% had a high school diploma or less; 74.5% earned fewer than $50,000 annually; 79.7% did not use an e-cigarette; and 63.8% smoked nonmenthol cigarettes.

Continued smoking from baseline through wave 4 occurred among 78.8% of participants. Stratified by menthol smoking status, 77.8% of nonmenthol smokers and 80.4% of menthol smokers continued smoking throughout the study.

After adjusting for tobacco use exposure, sociodemographic variables, tobacco dependence, and interactions, smoking cessation was associated with some college education (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.61; 95% CI, 1.36-1.91; P <.001), college education (aOR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P <.001), earning >$50,000 annually (aOR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.13-1.45; P <.001), and the interaction between menthol and e-cigarette use (aOR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.10-2.02; P <.05).

Smoking cessation was less likely among individuals who were of other ethnicity (aOR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23-0.86; P <.05), were Black (aOR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.41-0.98; P <.05), had tobacco dependence (aOR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.59-0.69; P <.001), and were aged 35-54 years (aOR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.66-0.88; P <.001).

Both ethnicity (F, 3.72; P <.05) and e-cigarette use (F, 6.82; P <.05) were significantly associated with smoking cessation among menthol cigarette users.

This study was limited by not incorporating relapse and it remains unclear whether menthol or nonmenthol cigarette smokers had similar relapse risk.

The study authors concluded that smoking cessation varied across ethnicities among individuals living in the US. This study provided longitudinal evidence that a menthol cigarette ban could help menthol smokers who were Black to quit smoking, especially with the aid of e-cigarettes.


Cook S, Hirschtick JL, Patel A, et al. A longitudinal study of menthol cigarette use and smoking cessation among adult smokers in the US: Assessing the roles of racial disparities and E-cigarette use. Prev Med. 2022;154:106882. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106882