Characterising smokers of menthol and flavoured cigarettes, their attitudes towards tobacco regulation, and the anticipated impact of the Tobacco Products Directive on their smoking and quitting behaviours: The EUREST-PLUS ITC Europe Surveys.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Little research exists on the sociodemographic characteristics of menthol and flavoured cigarette (MFC) smokers in Europe. This study assessed the proportion of MFC smokers in Europe, their sociodemographic characteristics, and their attitudes towards tobacco control measures. METHODS:Cross-sectional data were collected in 2016 among 10760 adult current smokers from 8 European countries (ITC Europe Project and EUREST-PLUS). Smokers of menthol, other flavoured, unflavoured tobacco, or no usual brand were compared on sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes towards a range of tobacco control measures (e.g. ban on flavouring), and on intentions regarding their smoking behaviour following the ban on flavoured tobacco. Data were analysed in SPSS Complex Samples Package using univariate analyses. RESULTS:Among the respondents, 7.4% smoked menthol cigarettes and 2.9% other flavoured tobacco, but large differences existed between countries (e.g. 0.4% smokers smoked menthol cigarettes in Spain vs 12.4% in England). Compared to other groups, menthol cigarette smokers were younger, more likely to be female, better educated, had higher household income, and smoked fewer cigarettes (all p<0.001). A quarter of menthol smokers supported a ban on additives, compared with almost half of all other smokers (p<0.001). In case of a ban on flavourings, around a fifth of all MFC smokers intended to switch to another brand, and a third to reduce the amount they smoked or to quit smoking, but there was no consistent pattern across MFC smokers among the countries. CONCLUSIONS:The ban on flavourings introduced by the EU Tobacco Products Directive (extended to 2020 for menthols) will affect one in ten smokers in the countries surveyed, which provides an opportunity for targeting these groups with cessation programmes. However, smokers of menthol and flavoured cigarettes in the different European countries are a heterogeneous group and may need different approaches.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:In the USA, Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit the sale of flavoured cigarettes, with menthol being the exception. However, the manufacture, advertisement and sale of flavoured cigar products are permitted. Such flavourings influence positive perceptions of tobacco products and are linked to increased use. Flavourings may mask the taste of tobacco and enhance smoke inhalation, influencing toxicant exposure and abuse liability among novice tobacco users. Using clinical laboratory methods, this study investigates how flavour availability affects measures of abuse liability in young adult cigarette smokers. The specific aims are to evaluate the effect of cigar flavours on nicotine exposure, and behavioural and subjective measures of abuse liability. METHODS AND ANALYSES:Participants (projected n=25) are healthy smokers of five or more cigarettes per day over the past 3?months, 18-25 years old, naive to cigar use (lifetime use of 50 or fewer cigar products and no more than 10 cigars smoked in the past 30 days) and without a desire to quit cigarette smoking in the next 30 days. Participants complete five laboratory sessions in a Latin square design with either their own brand cigarette or a session-specific Black & Mild cigar differing in flavour (apple, cream, original and wine). Participants are single-blinded to cigar flavours. Each session consists of two 10-puff smoking bouts (30?s interpuff interval) separated by 1?hour. Primary outcomes include saliva nicotine concentration, behavioural economic task performance and response to various questionnaire items assessing subjective effects predictive of abuse liability. Differences in outcomes across own brand cigarette and flavoured cigar conditions will be tested using linear mixed models. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The Virginia Commonwealth University Institutional Review Board approved the study (VCU IRB: HM20007848). Dissemination channels for study findings include scientific journals, scientific meetings, and policy briefs. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT02937051.
Project description:While flavoured cigarettes were prohibited in the USA in 2009, flavoured little cigars and cigarillos (LCCs) remain on the market. We describe the evolving strategies used by tobacco companies to encourage uptake of flavoured LCCs and industry research findings on consumer perceptions of flavoured LCC products.Analysis of internal tobacco industry documents was triangulated with data from tobacco advertisement archives, national newspapers, trade press and the internet.Flavoured LCC products were associated with young and inexperienced tobacco users, women and African-Americans. Internal industry studies confirmed that menthol and candy-like flavours (eg, vanilla and cherry) increased LCC appeal to starters by masking the heavy cigar taste, reducing throat irritation and making LCC smoke easier to inhale. To appeal to new users, manufacturers also reduced the size of cigars to make them more cigarette-like, introduced filters and flavoured filter tips, emphasised mildness and ease of draw in advertising, and featured actors using little cigars in television commercials. RJ Reynolds tried to capitalise on the popularity of menthol cigarettes among African-Americans and marketed a menthol little cigar to African-Americans.Tobacco companies engaged in a calculated effort to blur the line between LCCs to increase the appeal to cigarette smokers, and the use of flavours facilitated these efforts. Bans on flavoured cigarettes should be expanded to include flavoured LCCs, and tobacco use prevention initiatives should include LCCs.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Limited data exist on flavoured non-cigarette tobacco product (NCTP) use among US adults. METHODS:Data from the 2013 to 2014 National Adult Tobacco Survey (N=75?233), a landline and cellular telephone survey of US adults aged ?18, were assessed to estimate past 30-day NCTP use, flavoured NCTP use and flavour types using bivariate analyses. RESULTS:During 2013-2014, 14.4% of US adults were past 30-day NCTP users. Nationally, an estimated 10.2 million e-cigarette users (68.2%), 6.1 million hookah users (82.3%), 4.1 million cigar smokers (36.2%) and 4.0 million smokeless tobacco users (50.6%) used flavoured products in the past 30?days. The most prevalent flavours reported were menthol/mint (76.9%) for smokeless tobacco; fruit (74.0%) for hookah; fruit (52.4%), candy/chocolate/other sweet flavours (22.0%) and alcohol (14.5%) for cigars/cigarillos/filtered little cigars; fruit (44.9%), menthol/mint (43.9%) and candy/chocolate/other sweet flavours (25.7%) for e-cigarettes and fruit (56.6%), candy/chocolate/other sweet flavours (26.5%) and menthol/mint (24.8%) for pipes. Except for hookah and pipes, past 30-day flavoured product use was highest among 18-24-year olds. By cigarette smoking, never smoking e-cigarette users (84.8%) were more likely to report flavoured e-cigarette use, followed by recent former smokers (78.1%), long-term former smokers (70.4%) and current smokers (63.2%). CONCLUSIONS:Flavoured NCTP use is prominent among US adult tobacco users, particularly among e-cigarette, hookah and cigar users. Flavoured product use, especially fruit and sweet-flavoured products, was higher among younger adults. It is important for tobacco prevention and control strategies to address all forms of tobacco use, including flavoured tobacco products.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to estimate black/white differences in cotinine levels for current smokers of both sexes, and to explore the potential contribution of mentholated cigarettes to these differences. Sera from 255 current smokers sampled from Southern Community Cohort Study participants (65 black men, 65 black women, 63 white men, 62 white women) were analyzed for cotinine, and linear regression was used to model the effect of race on cotinine level, adjusting for the number of cigarettes smoked within the last 24 hours, use of menthol vs. non-menthol cigarettes, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, and age. Black smokers smoked fewer cigarettes than white smokers, yet had crude mean cotinine levels nearly as high or higher than white smokers. After multivariate adjustment, cotinine levels were an average of 50 ng/ml higher among black than white women (p=0.008) and non-significantly 12 ng/ml higher among black than white men (p=0.52). We observed no increase in cotinine levels associated with menthol cigarette use. We conclude that differences in cotinine levels among smokers suggest racial variation in exposure to and/or metabolism of tobacco smoke constituents, but our findings do not support a role for menthol preference in this disparity.
Project description:In the United States, cigarette flavorings are banned, with the exception of menthol. The cooling effects of menthol could facilitate the absorption of tobacco toxicants. We examined levels of biomarkers of tobacco exposure among U.S. smokers of menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes.We studied 4,603 White, African-American, and Mexican-American current smokers 20 years of age or older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 through 2010 and had data on cigarette type and serum cotinine, blood cadmium, and blood lead concentrations. Urinary total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol) (NNAL) was studied in 1,607 participants with available measures.A total of 3,210 (74.3%) participants smoked nonmenthol cigarettes compared with 1,393 (25.7%) participants who smoked menthol cigarettes. The geometric mean concentrations comparing smokers of nonmenthol with menthol cigarettes were 163.1 versus 175.9 ng/mL for serum cotinine; 0.95 versus 1.02 ?g/L for blood cadmium; 1.87 versus 1.75 ?g/dL for blood lead; and 0.27 versus 0.23 ng/mL for urine NNAL. After multivariable adjustment, the ratios [95% confidence interval (CI)] comparing smokers of menthol with nonmenthol cigarettes were 1.03 (0.95-1.11) for cotinine, 1.10 (1.04-1.16) for cadmium, 0.95 (0.90-1.01) for lead, and 0.81 (0.65-1.01) for NNAL.In a representative sample of U.S. adult smokers, current menthol cigarette use was associated with increased concentration of blood cadmium, an established carcinogen and highly toxic metal, but not with other biomarkers.These findings provide information regarding possible differences in exposure to toxic constituents among menthol cigarette smokers compared with nonmenthol cigarette smokers.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Similar to the debate around e-cigarettes, an increase in snus use among Norwegian adolescents has prompted debate on whether flavour options in snus should be limited. To this end, we compared use of flavoured snus among snus users with different smoking status. METHODS:Questions about flavoured snus use were included in an online omnibus study conducted from 2015 to 2019 (N?=?65,445) that included 16,295 ever snus users (aged 15+). Current snus users (N?=?9783) were asked "Do you usually use snus that has a flavouring (liquorice, mint, wintergreen, etc.)? Adjusted predicted probabilities and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated from a logistic regression model. RESULTS:Less than 25% of the snus users reported never having smoked. The overall probability of using flavoured snus was .45 (95% CI .44-.46), highest among daily (.51, 95% CI .47-.54) and former daily smokers (.50, 95% CI .48-.52), and lowest among never (.41, 95% CI .39-.43) and occasional smokers without any prior history of daily smoking (.41, 95% CI .38-.44). Use of flavoured products was higher among female snus users (p?=?.67, 95% CI .65-.69) compared to males (p?=?.35, 95% CI .34-.36), highest among the youngest age group, 15-24 years (p?=?.58, 95% CI .56-.60) and decreased with increasing age. CONCLUSION:Regulation that would ban or limit flavoured snus use may affect smokers-an at risk population-more than never smokers. The health authorities should be mindful of the real-world complexity governing potential harms and benefits of flavour restrictions on snus. A further assessment of flavour limitations should acknowledge that flavoured snus products also function as alternatives to cigarettes.
Project description:Tobacco companies use colour on cigarette packaging and labelling to communicate brand imagery, diminish health concerns, and as a replacement for prohibited descriptive words ('light' and 'mild') to make misleading claims about reduced risks.We analysed previously secret tobacco industry documents to identify additional ways in which cigarette companies tested and manipulated pack colours to affect consumers' perceptions of the cigarettes' flavour and strength.Cigarette companies' approach to package design is based on 'sensation transference' in which consumers transfer sensations they derive from the packaging to the product itself. Companies manipulate consumers' perceptions of the taste and strength of cigarettes by changing the colour of the packaging. For example, even without changes to the tobacco blends, flavourings or additives, consumers perceive the taste of cigarettes in packages with red and darker colours to be fuller flavoured and stronger, and cigarettes in packs with more white and lighter colours are perceived to taste lighter and be less harmful.Companies use pack colours to manipulate consumers' perceptions of the taste, strength and health impacts of the cigarettes inside the packs, thereby altering their characteristics and effectively creating new products. In countries that do not require standardised packaging, regulators should consider colour equivalently to other changes in cigarette characteristics (eg, physical characteristics, ingredients, additives and flavourings) when making determinations about whether or not to permit new products on the market.
Project description:Although menthol was not banned under the Tobacco Control Act, the law made it clear that this did not prevent the Food and Drug Administration from issuing a product standard to ban menthol to protect public health. The purpose of this review was to update the evidence synthesis regarding the role of menthol in initiation, dependence and cessation.A systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature on menthol cigarettes via a PubMed search through May 9, 2017. The National Cancer Institute's Bibliography of Literature on Menthol and Tobacco and the FDA's 2011 report and 2013 addendum were reviewed for additional publications. Included articles addressing initiation, dependence, and cessation were synthesized based on study design and quality, consistency of evidence across populations and over time, coherence of findings across studies, and plausibility of the findings.Eighty-two studies on menthol cigarette initiation (n?=?46), dependence (n?=?14), and cessation (n?=?34) were included. Large, representative studies show an association between menthol and youth smoking that is consistent in magnitude and direction. One longitudinal and eight cross-sectional studies demonstrate that menthol smokers report increased nicotine dependence compared to non-menthol smokers. Ten studies support the temporal relationship between menthol and reduced smoking cessation, as they measure cessation success at follow-up.The strength and consistency of the associations in these studies support that the removal of menthol from cigarettes is likely to reduce youth smoking initiation, improve smoking cessation outcomes in adult smokers, and in turn, benefit public health.
Project description:Non-menthol characterising flavours (eg, fruit, candy) are banned in cigarettes, yet are still permitted in non-cigarette tobacco (NCT) products. This study examined associations between first use and current use of flavoured tobacco products, and current flavoured tobacco use and quit behaviours.A nationally representative, telephone-based survey completed in 2012 by 1443 US adult tobacco users asked about use of 9 tobacco products: cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, little filtered cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco and snus. Ever users reported first use of flavoured products, while current users also reported current flavoured product use. Current users reported quit attempts made in the past year. Data were weighted to reflect the US adult tobacco user population. Logistic regression models were used to examine associations between first/current flavour use and quit behaviours.Over 70% of respondents reported first use of a flavoured tobacco product, while 54% reported current use of at least one flavoured product. Odds of current flavoured product use were greater among those who reported first use of a flavoured product (OR 14.82, 95% CI 9.96 to 22.06). First use of a flavoured product was associated with being a current tobacco user (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.08 to 2.22). Compared to single product users, polytobacco users exhibited greater odds of reporting current use of flavoured products (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.97). Forty-four percent of current tobacco users reported a past-year quit attempt. Adjusted analyses among current NCT users of at least one flavoured tobacco product showed reduced odds of reporting a quit attempt.First use of a flavoured tobacco product was associated with current flavoured tobacco use and polytobacco use. Users of only flavoured NCT products exhibited reduced odds of reporting a quit attempt. Findings from this study reinforce the importance of flavoured product availability in the USA, which may have significant implications for efforts to reduce tobacco initiation and use at a population level. The relationship between characterising flavours and quit behaviours merits further exploration in longitudinal, population-based samples.
Project description:Introduction:Few studies have examined the relationship between menthol use and smoking cessation across various racial/ethnic groups; the findings were mixed. This study explored the association of menthol cigarette use with quit attempts, smoking cessation, and intention-to-quit among US adults and by race/ethnicity. Methods:Using the 2006/2007 and 2010/2011 Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey data, this study analyzed 54 448 recent active smokers, defined as current smokers or former smokers who quit less than 12 months ago. Three behaviors were examined: any quit attempts in the past 12 months, successful cessation for ?3 months, and intention-to-quit smoking in the next 6 months. For each cessation behavior, multiple logistic regression models were estimated separately for the full-sample and stratified racial/ethnic subsamples. Results:While 72.3% of African American recent active smokers typically smoked menthol cigarettes, this proportion was 21.7%, 21.5%, and 28.0% for whites, Asians, and Hispanics, respectively. African American menthol smokers had higher odds of quit attempts compared to non-African American, non-menthol smokers (full-sample analysis), as well as African American non-menthol smokers (subsample analysis). Menthol use was not significantly associated with quit attempts in other racial/ethnic subsamples. There was no significant difference in either successful cessation or intention-to-quit between menthol and non-menthol smokers. Conclusions:African American menthol smokers were more likely to attempt to quit smoking than non-menthol smokers but these quit attempts did not translate into successful cessation. This study revealed no association of menthol use with quit attempts, successful cessation, and intention-to-quit among other racial/ethnic groups. Implications:The findings suggested that African American menthol smokers were more motivated to quit smoking; yet, the results also indicated no significant differences in successful cessation between African American menthol and non-menthol smokers. Interventions targeting menthol smokers within the African American community may help bridge this gap. While more local sales restrictions are beginning to occur (eg, Tobacco 21 efforts), additional policies restricting price discounting as well as the regulation of access to and the time, place, and/or manner of menthol tobacco advertising could also improve cessation rates. Further evaluation is needed to determine the viability of these policies.