Disparities in retail marketing for menthol cigarettes in the United States, 2015

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This study describes retail marketing for menthol cigarettes and its relationship with neighborhood demographics in a national sample of tobacco retailers in the United States. Mixed-effects models were used to examine three outcomes: menthol cigarette exterior advertising, menthol cigarette price promotions, and the pack price of menthol and non-menthol cigarettes. Thirty-eight percent of retailers displayed at least one menthol advertisement on the store exterior and 69% advertised price promotions. Retail advertising was more common in neighborhoods in the second (OR = 1.5 [1.1, 2.0]) and fourth (OR = 1.9 [1.3, 2.7]) quartiles of Black residents as compared to the lowest quartile. Menthol advertising was more prevalent in the third (OR = 1.4 [1.0, 1.9]) and lowest (OR = 1.6 [1.2, 2.2]) income quartiles as compared to the highest quartile. Price promotions for Newport were more common in neighborhoods with the highest quartile of Black residents (OR = 1.8 [1.2, 2.7]). Prices of Newport were cheaper in neighborhoods with the highest quartiles of youth, Black residents, and lower-income households. Policies that restrict the sales and marketing of menthol cigarettes are needed to address disparities.HIGHLIGHTSMenthol cigarettes are marketed extensively in the retail tobacco environment.Menthol marketing targets areas with more youth, minority and low-income residents.Price promotions in areas with more Black residents was unique to Newport.

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