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Econometric Research on Regulating Menthol Cigarettes and Smoking Cessation

Principal Investigator: Donald S. Kenkel

Funding Mechanism:  Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority (IDDA)

ID Number: 1R21DA037408-01

Award Date: 8/11/14

Institution:  Cornell University 


An estimated 18.1 million U.S. adults, or about 30% of adult smokers, smoke menthol cigarettes. Some evidence suggests that the availability of menthol cigarettes increases the number of smokers, partly by reducing cessation. The goal of this project is to use econometric methods to study relationships between menthol cigarette use and smoking cessation. Specific aims are: (1) to study the relationship between menthol cigarette use and smoking cessation; (2) to investigate the economics of consumer choices about menthol cigarettes and smoking cessation; and (3) to investigate the economics of consumer choices about menthol cigarettes over the life course. To accomplish Aim 1, researchers will analyze data from the 2003, 2006-07, and 2010-11 cycles of the Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) and data from the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NCS) from 1995 onward, which together provide data on nearly 80,000 current and past-year smokers. To accomplish Aim 2, researchers will use geocode information to merge the individual-level data from the TUS-CPS and NCS with market-level demand influences (e.g., price and advertising), and will use information on respondents’ magazine-reading habits to create individual-level measures of potential exposure to cigarette advertisements. This will enable researchers to investigate the extent to which smokers perceive menthol and non-menthol cigarettes to be close substitutes and evaluate the role of advertising in consumer choices. To accomplish Aim 3, researchers will use TUS-CPS data (e.g., ever use of menthol cigarettes; whether smokers used menthol cigarettes all or nearly all, most, half, or less than half the years they smoked) to build approximate lifetime histories of menthol use. By evaluating the impact of menthol use on smoking cessation, this research may inform regulatory actions related to menthol.


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