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Keywords:

  • African Americans;
  • clinical trial;
  • counseling;
  • health education;
  • light smokers;
  • menthol;
  • motivational interviewing;
  • nicotine replacement therapy;
  • secondary analysis;
  • smoking cessation

ABSTRACT

Aims  To determine whether African American light smokers who smoked menthol cigarettes had lower cessation when treated with nicotine replacement therapy and counseling.

Design  Data were derived from a clinical trial that assessed the efficacy of 2 mg nicotine gum (versus placebo) and counseling (motivational interviewing counseling versus Health Education) for smoking cessation among African American light smokers (smoked ≤ 10 cigarettes per day).

Participants  The sample consisted of 755 African American light smokers.

Measurements  The primary outcome variable was verified 7-day point-prevalence smoking cessation at 26 weeks follow-up. Verification was by salivary cotinine.

Findings  Compared to non-menthol smokers, menthol smokers were younger and less confident to quit smoking (P = 0.023). At 26 weeks post-randomization, 7-day verified abstinence rate was significantly lower for menthol smokers (11.2% versus 18.8% for non-menthol, P = 0.015).

Conclusions  Among African American light smokers, use of menthol cigarettes is associated with lower smoking cessation rates. Because the majority of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes, a better understanding of the mechanism for this lower quit rate is needed.