The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA regulatory authority over the manufacture, distribution and marketing of tobacco products in order to improve public health. The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee's recommendation to the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) is that: "Removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States." The FDA CTP will make a future determination about its regulatory approach to menthol. The broad goal of the proposed research is to help inform the FDA CTP's regulatory authority. To accomplish our broad goal we will apply state-of-the-art econometric methods to study relationships between the use of menthol and smoking cessation.
Specific Aim 1 is to use quasi-experimental econometric methods to study the relationship between menthol cigarette use and smoking cessation. We will analyze data from the 2003, 2006-07 and 2010-11 cycles of the Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS). The TUS-CPS provides large nationally representative samples of the US population, including sub-samples of current and former smokers of about N=75,000 in 2003, N=70,000 in 2006-07, and N=60,000 in 2010-11. We will conduct parallel analysis of data from the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NCS) from the 1995 waves onwards, which will provide a pooled sample of almost 80,000 current and past-year smokers. In the terminology of quasi-experimental econometrics, our main focus will be on the causal treatment effect of menthol use on smoking cessation. Because this exploratory research is proposed under the R21 mechanism, we do not aim to develop a single "best" estimate. Instead, we aim to develop a range of credible preliminary estimates, and more importantly, explore the potential of state-of-the-art econometric methods to this novel application.
Specific Aim 2 is to conduct an empirical investigation into the economics of consumer choices about menthol cigarettes and smoking cessation. We will use geocode information to merge the individual-level data from the TUS-CPS and NCS with market-level demand influences including prices and advertising. For the NCS data, we will also use information on respondents'magazine-reading habits to create individual-level measures of potential exposure to cigarette advertisements in magazines. We will focus on social science economic research questions about: the extent to which smokers see menthol and non-menthol cigarettes as close substitutes;and the role of advertising in consumer choices.
Specific Aim 3 is to conduct an empirical investigation into the economics of consumer choices about menthol cigarettes over the life course. We will use responses to unique questions in the 2010-2011 to build approximate histories of life course menthol use. We will extend Aims 1 &2 through the analysis of these novel life-course data.
Aims 1 -3 describe a plan to conduct exploratory and developmental R21 research that addresses research questions that cut across 3 of the Research Priorities outlined in the NIH FOA PAR-12-266: understanding the diversity of tobacco products;marketing;and economics and policies. X
Under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA is considering regulating menthol cigarettes, including the possibility of removing menthol cigarettes from the US marketplace. This exploratory and developmental R21 research project will provide econometric estimates of the relationships between menthol use and smoking cessation, a key step to predicting part of the public health impact of regulating menthol.