Effects on time to lapse of switching menthol smokers to non-menthol cigarettes prior to a cessation attempt: A pilot study

Michael Kotlyar, Ryan Shanley, Sheena R. Dufresne, Gretchen A. Corcoran, Kolawole S. Okuyemi, Anne M. Mills, Dorothy K. Hatsukami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction Menthol smokers (particularly African-Americans) have lower cessation success rates than non-menthol smokers. With bans being considered on characterising menthol flavour in cigarettes, data are needed regarding how switching to non-menthol cigarettes impacts cessation measures. Methods In this randomised pilot study, African-American menthol cigarette smokers interested in quitting smoking either continued smoking menthol cigarettes (n=60) or switched to non-menthol cigarettes (n=62) for a 1-month period prior to a cessation attempt. The primary endpoint was time to smoking lapse (ie, time from quitting until any smoking). Additional endpoints included time to smoking relapse (ie, number of days from quitting until the first of seven consecutive smoking days) and difference between groups in subjective measures. Results After attempting to quit, the non-menthol cigarette group had indications of delayed time to lapse (HR 0.82; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.22; p=0.33) and time to relapse (HR 0.67; 95% CI 0.42 to 1.06; p=0.09), although these were not statistically significant. Post hoc analyses suggest that observed differences were largely due to a smaller proportion of participants in the non-menthol group relapsing within the first day of quitting (21% vs 40%; p=0.05). Values of other measures assessed postcessation were largely similar between groups. Conclusions These data suggest that among African-American smokers, a menthol cigarette ban would not undermine short-term cessation measures and may result in some benefits. Future research is needed to assess longer term cessation rates and to identify interventions to maximise cessation success in the event of a menthol ban. Trial registration number NCT02342327.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-577
Number of pages4
JournalTobacco control
Issue number5
Early online dateJul 27 2020
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Supported by ClearWay Minnesota grant #2014-0010 and grants #UL1TR000114 and UL1TR002494 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


  • cessation
  • nicotine
  • priority/special populations
  • public policy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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