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Smoking intensity and intent to continue smoking among menthol and non-menthol adolescent smokers in Canada

Abstract

Purpose

Research suggests that menthol cigarette use is associated with nicotine dependence. However, findings on the relationship between menthol smoking status and quantity of cigarettes smoked are less clear. The objective of this paper was to examine whether menthol cigarette smoking is associated with higher smoking intensity and intention to continue smoking among adolescents.

Methods

A nationally representative sample of 4,736 Canadian students in grades 9–12 was drawn from the 2010–2011 Canadian Youth Smoking Survey. Associations between smoking intensity and menthol smoking were examined using linear regression. A logistic regression was used to examine whether menthol smoking increased the odds that a student reported intention to continue smoking.

Results

Thirty-two percentage of smokers in grades 9–12 smoked menthol cigarettes in the last 30 days. Unadjusted average number of cigarettes reported by menthol smokers was 6.86 compared with 4.59 among non-menthol smokers (p < 0.001). Multivariable results showed that the average number of cigarettes smoked by menthol smokers was greater than non-menthol smokers (β = 1.92; 95 % CI = 1.16–2.68). Similar results were found using the total number of cigarettes smoked in the past week. Additionally, menthol smokers had greater odds of reporting intent to continue smoking compared with non-menthol smokers (OR = 2.95; 95 % CI = 2.24–3.90). These results were similar when separate analyses were conducted for established smokers and experimental smokers.

Conclusions

The findings of this study along with existing evidence suggest the need for banning mentholated tobacco products in Canada, in part because of its significant effect on adolescent smoking.

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Acknowledgments

We thank two anonymous reviewers of this journal and Dr. Stanton Glantz for providing invaluable suggestions and comments. This work was supported by a research grant from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (Grant Number 2011-701019). The Youth Smoking Survey is a product of the pan-Canadian capacity building project funded through a contribution agreement between Health Canada and the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact from 2004 to 2007 and a contract between Health Canada and the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact from 2008–2011. The YSS consortium includes Canadian tobacco control researchers from all provinces and provided training opportunities for university students at all levels. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

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Correspondence to Sunday Azagba.

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Azagba, S., Minaker, L.M., Sharaf, M.F. et al. Smoking intensity and intent to continue smoking among menthol and non-menthol adolescent smokers in Canada. Cancer Causes Control 25, 1093–1099 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10552-014-0410-6

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Keywords

  • Tobacco
  • Smoking intensity
  • Menthol
  • Adolescent smokers