DIFFERENCES IN SMOKING TOPOGRAPHY, SUBJECTIVE RESPONSES, AND SHORT-TERM ABSTINENCE BETWEEN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND WHITE MENTHOL AND NON-MENTHOL SMOKERS
Menthol in cigarettes may increase smoke exposure and reduce likelihood of smoking cessation. However, these findings are confounded by race, as higher proportions of African American (AA) smokers smoke menthol cigarettes (84.6%), compared to White smokers (28.9%). The present study evaluated the independent and interactive associations of race and menthol preference on smoking topography, subjective smoking responses, and ability to abstain for 24-hrs. Participants (N = 100) smoked their own cigarette naturalistically or through a smoking topography device in the first two sessions, in counterbalanced order, and underwent an incentivized, biochemically-verified 24-hr abstinence period after. Menthol smokers had fewer years of education, been smoking daily longer, and were more nicotine dependent, compared to non-menthol smokers. AA smokers were older, had lower household income, and had been smokers daily longer than White smokers. Menthol smokers took shorter, smaller puffs, and reported greater urge reduction from smoking, but did not differ in overall smoke exposure from non-menthol smokers. White smokers were less likely to abstain than AA smokers, while abstinence rates did not differ between menthol groups. There were minimal differences in smoking topography and subjective responses between smoking method. Implications of these findings are discussed.