Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products - ITCMI

Menthol and Other Flavored Tobacco Products


The high prevalence of menthol and flavored tobacco use in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities poses a significant threat to public health. Predatory marketing strategies by big tobacco companies on AI/AN communities has amplified initiation and addiction rates, further worsening health disparities. Menthol and flavored tobacco has been recognized as a catalyst for smoking initiation and addiction, posing an additional hurdle to quitting efforts. AI/AN communities encounter distinct challenges linked to the use of menthol and other flavored tobacco products, with the youth being particularly vulnerable to heightened risks. In a recent survey, 19.9% of youth in grades 8 report using vaping products at least once in their lifetime and 38.8% of 12th graders report having used vaping products. 1 Additionally,77% of youth surveyed in grades 8-10 did not perceive the use of vaping products as increasing their risk of developing cancer and other illnesses and nearly half of all respondents indicated that it was fairly easy for them to obtain vape products.1  

The harmful effects of menthol and flavored tobacco products extend beyond individual health, impacting community well-being and exacerbating existing disparities. It is imperative to address these issues comprehensively, emphasizing education, awareness, access to cessation services, culturally tailored interventions and effective policy initiatives to curb the prevalence of menthol and flavored tobacco use in AI/AN communities. 

Stanley, S. J., Kelley, D. E., O’Brien, E., Margolis, K. A., Navarro, M. A., Alexander, J. P., & O’Donnell, A. N. (2022). US digital tobacco marketing and youth: A narrative review. Preventive Medicine Reports, 102094.