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Use of Menthol Cigarettes Higher Among Smokers in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

March 1, 2018
Gunner, NR
Gubner NR, el al. Menthol Cigarette Smoking Among Individuals in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders. Addictive Behaviors 2018;80:135-141
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  • There are higher rates of menthol cigarette smoking within certain population subgroups.
  • Limited research has examined menthol use among individuals in treatment for substance use disorders (SUD), a population with a high prevalence of cigarette smoking, poor smoking cessation outcomes, and high tobacco disease burden.

To try to fill that research gap, this study collected survey data from 863 smokers sampled from 24 SUD treatment programs affiliated with the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN) in the United States. Prevalence of menthol cigarette smoking was examined for the sample. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were used to examine demographic and tobacco use characteristics associated with menthol cigarette smoking.

Overall, the prevalence of menthol smoking among individuals in SUD treatment was 53.3%.

Smoking menthol versus non-menthol cigarettes was associated with being:

  1. female,
  2. African American,
  3. Hispanic/Latino,
  4. less educated (lower odds of having a college degree),
  5. primary marijuana, rather than alcohol, users, and
  6. more interested in getting help to quit smoking (though they were not more likely to report making a past-year quit attempt).

Conclusions: Use of menthol cigarettes was higher among smokers in SUD treatment than in general population smokers. Menthol cigarette smoking may contribute to tobacco use disparities among individuals with SUD. Regulatory policies targeting the manufacture, marketing, or sale of menthol cigarettes may benefit vulnerable populations, including smokers in SUD treatment.

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