• Menthol cigarettes;
  • smoking cessation;
  • quit ratios;
  • use of quit aids;
  • racial/ethnic differences;
  • smoking


Aims  This study examines the relationship between menthol cigarette smoking and the population quit ratio and whether menthol smokers differ in utilization of evidence-based smoking cessation aids among a nationally representative sample of US adult smokers.

Design, setting and particiants  Secondary data analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement. The NHIS is a nationally representative survey of US households conducted annually.

Measurements  The main outcome variables of interest were (1) the population quit ratio and (2) use of smoking quit aids. All analyses were conducted using SAS version 9.2 with SUDAAN, which corrects for the complex sampling design of the study. Univariate analyses were used to determine variables that differed significantly by menthol status and utilization of types of quit aids. Multiple logistic regression analysis modeled the relationship between menthol smoking status, demographic characteristics and smoking-related characteristics on the population quit ratio and utilization of quit aids.

Findings  We observed significant differences in the population quit ratio for menthol versus non-menthol among African American smokers (34% versus 49%, P < 0.001), but not among whites (52% versus 50%). In multiple logistic regression analysis, there was a significant interaction between race and menthol smoking status. African American menthol smokers were significantly less likely than white non-menthol smokers to have quit smoking (adjusted odds ratio: 0.72, 95% confidence interval: 0.53, 0.97) after controlling for age group, sex, marital status, region and average number of cigarettes smoked per day. Menthol smoking status was not associated with differences in utilization of quit aids.

Conclusions  African Americans have the highest rates of menthol cigarette smoking of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Menthol cigarette smoking is associated negatively with successful smoking cessation among African Americans.