Network presence at 2nd Menthol Conference

Hi,  reporting from the 2nd Menthol Conference hosted by NAATPN in Washington D.C.

Lots of interesting information given on the first day here that isn’t specific to LGBT  but maybe of general interest.

1.  Role of menthol and increased health risks –to date the scientific data does not support higher rates of disease (cancer, heart disease, etc.) associated with use of menthol cigarettes.  The same health risks associated with smoking remain with use of menthol cigarettes. Menthol is not a safer brand.

2.  Menthol is associated with deeper inhalation which increases the amount of nicotine received while smoking fewer numbers of cigarettes per day.  This has implications for lower income and young smokers where access to cigarettes are limited due to cost.

3.  Menthol has been shown to be the initiation flavor for youth.  The level of menthol is manipulated for various types of smokers.  For brands targeted toward younger smokers, menthol levels are milder to mask the harsh taste of tobacco.  Menthol levels are increased for brands targeted toward older and more chronic smokers.

4.  Use of menthol products vary by demographic groups. African Americans use at the highest levels followed by Latinos.  However, women more likely to use than men.  Young and new smokers use menthol brands.  Low income smokers also more likely to use menthol.  No data is available for LGBT communities.

5.  Targeting – there has been very relentless targeting of menthol among African Americans.  “The Africanization of menthol”.  However, there is also targeting in Latino and Asian communities.  Use of menthol is increasing in these communities.

6.  Smoking cessation – the use of menthol cigarettes is associated with more difficulty in quitting.

7.  In 2009 FDA outlawed the manufactoring of flavored cigarettes because of greater preference by youth.  However, menthol was exempted from that legislation.  Due to activism by the AA community and other anti-tobacco advocates the FDA has agreed to review the data associated with menthol with the possibility of banning menthol.

8.  Marketing experts discussed how regulations regarding advertisement of flavored cigs. can be easily “worked around.”  Terms like “frost”, “ice”, “purple haze”  and packaging colors can be used and will not be covered under the FDA acts.

9.  Cheryl Healton (spelling) from the Legacy foundation has been the only presenter to mention lgbt.

O.k., all for now.  alicia.

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