A recent study conducted in the United States reveals that the number of young adults smoking mentholated cigarettes has increased in the past few years. These results indicate that the efforts to reduce the smoking habits of young adults are countered by the marketing and selling of mentholated cigarettes, including several newly established youth cigarette brands. The results of the study were published earlier in the international journal Tobacco Control.
Smoking is considered to be on the main causes of preventable death worldwide. In the United States alone, almost 500,000 deaths per year are related to smoking or smoking-related disorders. According to various studies, male patients lose an average of 13 years of their lives due to smoking, while female patients lose an average of 14 years of their lives.
According to professor Gary Giovino, from the Buffalo Department of Community Health and Health Behaviors, in the state of New York, the findings of the study show that most young adults are heavy consumers of cigarettes, especially mentholated cigarettes. Even though the numbers of non-menthol smokers have decreased, the number of mentholated cigarettes smokers has either increased or has remained constant.
Professor Giovino is one of the leading surveillance researchers for tobacco usage. His study included data taken from approximately 400,000 individuals, over the course of 6 years, between 2004 and 2010. Of the approximately 400,000 subjects, more than 85,000 were smokers. All subjects were over the age of 12, and all of them took part in the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Some of the results of the study show that mentholated cigarettes are more frequently smoked by teenagers (between the ages of 12 and 17), and young adults (between the ages of 18 and 25). Approximately 56% of teenagers admittedly smoke mentholated cigarettes, while only 45% of young adults reported smoking mentholated cigarettes. The results also show that only 30% of subjects older than 25 smoke menthol cigarettes.
The results of the study also show that the majority of mentholated cigarettes smokers were young, non-white, and female. Furthermore, among all adolescents and young adults, the percentage of non-menthol smokers has decreased from 2004, however menthol smoker numbers have either remained constant or have increased. Professor Giovino says that the results of his study should show the FDA that banning the mentholated cigarettes could have a beneficial impact on the general public health.
Giovino says that the FDA is already considering a ban on the mentholated cigarettes. He believes that his study provides important information on the smoking habits and menthol use. One major alarm signal that Giovino considers, is that most menthol smokers are young females of non-white ethnicity. He concludes that the results of the study show that mentholated cigarettes are a ‘starter pack’ for children, mostly due to the fact that menthol makes it easier for beginners to inhale. In other words, according to Giovino, menthol sweetens the poison, making it easier to inhale and smoke.