Aim To examine the patterns and correlates of mentholated cigarette smoking among adult smokers in the United States.
Design Cross-sectional data on adult current smokers (n = 63 193) were pooled from the 2003 and 2006/07 Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey.
Measurements The associations between socio-demographic and smoking variables were examined with gender- and race/ethnicity-stratified multivariate logistic regression models predicting current use of mentholated cigarettes.
Findings Multivariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that black smokers were 10–11 times more likely to smoke mentholated cigarettes than white smokers men: odds ratio (OR): 11.59, 99% confidence interval (CI): 9.79–13.72; women: OR: 10.12, 99% CI: 8.45–12.11). With the exception of American Indian/Aleut/Eskimo smokers, non-white smokers were significantly more likely to smoke mentholated cigarettes than were white smokers. Additional significant factors associated with mentholated cigarette smoking included being unmarried (never married: OR: 1.21, 99% CI: 1.09–1.34; divorced/separated: OR: 1.13, 99% CI: 1.03–1.23), being born in a US territory (OR: 2.01, 99% CI: 1.35–3.01), living in a non-metropolitan area (OR: 0.87, 99% CI: 0.80–0.96), being unemployed (OR: 1.24, 99% CI: 1.06–1.44) and lower levels of education. Race/ethnicity-stratified analyses showed that women were more likely than men to smoke mentholated cigarettes. Among black smokers, young adults (aged 18–24 years) were four times more likely to smoke mentholated cigarettes compared with individuals aged 65+.
Conclusions Race/ethnicity, gender and age are significant correlates of mentholated cigarette smoking among current smokers. Given the importance of menthol in the cigarette market and the potential untoward health effects of this additive, continued surveillance of the prevalence and correlates of mentholated cigarette use among diverse socio-demographic groups is warranted to inform appropriate interventions.