The fresher/smoother smoke of menthol cigarettes is also widely believed to make them easier to smoke and thus attractive to adolescent experimental selleck inhibitor smokers who are struggling to overcome their aversion to certain sensations of smoking, such as harshness, throat and chest irritation, and stale aftertaste (Hersey et al., 2006; Hersey, Nonnemaker, & Homsi, 2010). If this is correct, menthol cigarettes are strategically important to the tobacco industry for getting adolescent smokers through the uptake process (Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2011). Recent research has shown that menthol cigarettes are indeed more popular among adolescent smokers in the United States (Hersey et al., 2006, 2010). Hersey et al.
(2006) found higher rates of menthol smoking among both younger adolescent smokers and those who had smoked for less than a year, leading them to conclude that menthol cigarettes function as ��starter cigarettes�� for adolescents. Hersey et al. (2010) further reported that in 2006, 52% of middle school students and 43% of high school students who smoked usually smoked menthol cigarettes. Kreslake, Wayne, Alpert, Koh, and Connolly (2008) reported that menthol cigarettes have become more popular with U.S. adolescent smokers in recent years, with 44% of adolescent smokers usually smoking menthol brands in 2005, up from 37% in 2002. Industry documents show that U.S. tobacco companies manipulated menthol levels of certain brands in an effort to increase market share among ��young adult�� smokers (Kreslake et al., 2008).
Thus, one plausible explanation for the recent increase in market share of menthol brands among U.S. adolescents is that they have been reengineered to be even easier for ��starters�� to smoke. However, Kreslake et al. (2008) also reported that magazine advertising expenditure for menthol brands increased in the United States between 1998 and 2005, while decreasing for nonmenthol brands. Thus, a plausible alternative explanation for the increased popularity of menthol brands among U.S. adolescents is that it reflects the intensity of marketing efforts. Explaining trends in the popularity of menthol brands is by no means be an either/or choice between their sensory/pharmacological characteristics and targeted marketing. Nonetheless, it may be instructive to study trends in menthol smoking in Anacetrapib a country where advertising of tobacco products has been subject to more stringent restrictions than in the United States. Australia is a useful comparison country, as it has introduced strong advertising restrictions since the mid-1970s but menthol brand smoking was well-established prior to then. Television and radio advertising ended in Australia in 1976.