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Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Apr;9(4):447-51.

Sociocultural correlates of menthol cigarette smoking among adult African Americans in Los Angeles.

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  • 1Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA 90059, USA.


Nearly 70% of adult African American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes. More information is needed about the psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence their overwhelming preference for menthol cigarettes. This study examined variables associated with menthol vs. nonmenthol cigarette use among 432 adult African American smokers in Los Angeles, California. Menthol smoking was most prevalent among women, 18-30-year-olds, and employed respondents. Controlling for age and employment, we found that the significant correlates of menthol use among women were parents' menthol smoking, the belief that most African American smokers smoke menthols, and disagreement with the belief that smoking menthol cigarettes is a "Black thing." Among men, the only significant correlate of menthol smoking was the belief that most African American smokers smoke menthols. Results indicate that menthol smoking among adult African Americans is at least partly a consequence of a complex set of social and cultural norms. Further research is needed to understand the reasons why so many African Americans select menthols, as well as the health consequences of these choices.

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