Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health

Field of Study

Health Management and Policy

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Kristine Lykens

Abstract

Background. Research on the use and effect of menthol content in cigarettes is well established. More recent is research on the effect of menthol content on the smoking habits of school-aged youth. This study examined the relationship between menthol content and current cigarette use to test whether menthol content is predictive of current cigarette use among school-aged youth.

Methods. This study included all respondents to the 2004 National Youth Tobacco Survey who were 17 years old and younger and who indicated they were current smokers. Ordinal and generalized logistic regressions were used to estimate the relationship between menthol content and current cigarette use, controlling for sociocontextual and demographic factors. All analyses were performed in STATA 10.

Results. In general, menthol content has a positive but not statistically significant effect on current cigarette use, controlling for sociocontextual factors. However, menthol content has a positive and statistically significant effect on days smoked (OR=1.2; p=0.046), on current cigarette use, controlling for demographic factors (OR=1.3; p=0.011); and on current cigarette use for light smokers (OR=1.3; p<0.001) and heavy smokers (OR=2.3; p<0.001), controlling for demographic factors.

Conclusion: More research is needed to understand the true effect of menthol content on the smoking habits of school-aged youth across the smoking continuum.

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