214890 Adult Smokers and General Public Attitudes and Perceptions about Menthol Cigarettes-- United States, 2009

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Shane Davis, PhD , Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Valerie Rock, MPH , Office of Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Annette McClave, MPH , Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Judy Kruger, PhD , Office on Smoking and Health, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Background: While the public opinion regarding cigarette use has shifted toward a negative view, smokers may still hold misperceptions of the health risks of smoking mentholated cigarettes. This is important because inaccurate beliefs regarding the health risks about the use of any tobacco product, including menthol cigarettes, may increase their use or decrease smoking cessation.

Purpose: This study seeks to examine the health perceptions and attitudes towards the use of menthol cigarettes by the adult general population and adult smokers.

Method: Data from two annual national adult mail surveys, the 2009 ConsumerStyles Survey and the HealthStyles Survey, were used (n=4,556).

Results: Preliminary results showed that overall, the general adult public believes that menthol cigarettes are as harmful as non-menthol cigarettes (45.8%) and most of them accurately believe that menthol cigarettes have no health benefits (76.8%); however approximately one-third (30.2%) of adult smokers either believe that menthol cigarettes are less harmful than non-menthol or do not know they are harmful. Further results showed that almost half of current smokers believe that menthol cigarettes are equally addictive to non-menthol cigarettes (49.4%) and believe that both types of cigarettes are equally hard to quit (74.9%). Perceptions of addictiveness and cessation difficulty varied by sex, race, age, education level, and income.

Conclusion: Findings in this study illustrate that there are varying perceptions and attitudes about menthol cigarettes and underscore the need for more public education about the harmfulness and addictiveness of all tobacco products, regardless of type.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Describe the beliefs and perceptions of menthol cigarettes among the general adult population and adult smokers.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a Health Scientist in the Office on Smoking and Health for over 2 years and have worked on similar scientific projects.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.