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Menthol Smoking and Subjective Response To the First Cigarette Smoked

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Objectives: Using the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, this study examined whether pleasant and unpleasant subjective responses to the first cigarette smoked differed by initiation with a menthol versus non-menthol cigarette and whether subjective response was associated with current tobacco use behaviors, independent of, and in interaction with menthol initiation. Methods: Data were from youth and young adult ever smokers in Wave 2 (2014-2015) of the PATH study. Results: In adjusted multivariable logistic regression models, menthol initiators reported a more pleasant first smoking experience compared to non-menthol initiators and increased odds of past 30-day smoking, non-cigarette tobacco use, and menthol smoking. In adjusted models, pleasant experience was associated with increased odds of past 30-day smoking, non-cigarette tobacco use, and heavy smoking. Unpleasant experience was associated with decreased odds of past 30-day smoking. Interactions of menthol initiation with subjective response were not significant. Conclusions: Smokers who initiate with a menthol cigarette experience a more pleasant first smoking experience, and pleasant experience is associated with regular smoking and use of non-cigarette tobacco products. Findings underscore the potential abuse liability of menthol cigarettes and provide further evidence that a ban on menthol may help reduce tobacco use among young people.
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Keywords: INITIATION/TRIAL; MENTHOL; SMOKING; SUBJECTIVE RESPONSE; YOUNG ADULTS; YOUTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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