Menthol cigarettes and the public health standard: A systematic review

Andrea C. Villanti, Lauren K. Collins, Raymond Niaura, Stacey Y. Gagosian, David Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number983
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 29 2017

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Menthol
Tobacco Products
Public Health
Smoking Cessation
Tobacco
Smoking
Tobacco Use Disorder
Peer Review
National Cancer Institute (U.S.)
Bibliography
United States Food and Drug Administration
PubMed
Cross-Sectional Studies

Keywords

  • Cessation
  • Dependence
  • Policy
  • Public health
  • Youth tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Menthol cigarettes and the public health standard : A systematic review. / Villanti, Andrea C.; Collins, Lauren K.; Niaura, Raymond; Gagosian, Stacey Y.; Abrams, David.

In: BMC Public Health, Vol. 17, No. 1, 983, 29.12.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Villanti, Andrea C. ; Collins, Lauren K. ; Niaura, Raymond ; Gagosian, Stacey Y. ; Abrams, David. / Menthol cigarettes and the public health standard : A systematic review. In: BMC Public Health. 2017 ; Vol. 17, No. 1.
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