||1R21CA229297-01 Interpret this number
||University Of Minnesota
||Menthol Tobacco Sales Restrictions and Smoking Disparities
Project Summary and Abstract
The plummeting prevalence of cigarette smoking in the US in the last decade is a profound and ongoing public
health accomplishment. This has been largely driven by policies, such as taxation, which effectively make
tobacco more costly or otherwise difficult to obtain. However, while consumption of non-menthol cigarettes
has declined, menthol cigarette use has actually increased in recent years, suggesting that these policies may
have had a lesser impact on groups that overwhelmingly favor menthol cigarettes, such as African American
smokers. African Americans bear a highly disproportionate burden from various smoking-related conditions
including heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer when compared to other racial/ethnic groups in the US. Given
the central role that menthol cigarettes play in causing tobacco-related disease disparities, and acknowledging
that policy has been the critical lever for reducing smoking prevalence in the general population, there is an
urgent need to better understand how emerging policy opportunities might influence cigarette consumption
among African Americans. In recent years, policies that would fully or partially remove menthol-flavored
tobacco from the market have been considered at both the local and federal level, however it is unclear what
kind of real-world impact a menthol tobacco sales restriction might have on tobacco use prevalence and
disparities. The objective of this application is to determine how a city-wide restriction on the sale of menthol
tobacco products impacts smoking among African American adults living in the metropolitan area. Presently
there is a unique opportunity to evaluate a city-initiated menthol tobacco sales restriction policy. Starting on
August 1, 2018, a menthol tobacco sales restriction goes into effect in Minneapolis, MN. We propose an
innovative case-cohort study design, utilizing online recruitment and surveying, to measure this policy's impact
on African American's smoking. One year after the policy goes into effect, we will recruit, from the population
of Twin Cities, MN metropolitan area African Americans, “cases” who have smoked in the previous two years
but not recently, as well as “controls” who are current smokers. The main exposures of interest will be
geographic (i.e. residing within vs. outside of Minneapolis, distance to city border, etc.) We will accomplish the
proposal's objective through these specific aims: 1) Determine how a policy banning menthol-flavored tobacco
relates to cigarette consumption among African American smokers in the Twin Cities, MN metropolitan region.
2) Identify how the impact of a policy banning menthol flavored tobacco within Minneapolis may be modified
by factors related to geography and individuals' life patterns. It is anticipated that these aims will yield the
following expected outcomes. First, they will illuminate the effects of a menthol-ban policy on African
American adults' smoking. Second, they will provide direction for how such a policy could be optimized to
prevent disease and reduce disparities. These aims are expected to have positive impact because an evidence
basis is critical for implementing prudent tobacco control policies.
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