Black males have higher age-adjusted lung cancer incidence rates compared to white males, and blacks of both sexes have higher rates of increase in lung cancer incidence over past decades. The majority of black smokers smoke mentholated cigarettes. These observations prompted us to assess the effect of smoking mentholated cigarettes on lung cancer risk, using data from a hospital-based case-control study of tobacco-related cancers. Analysis was restricted to current cigarette smokers and was carried out on 588 male lung cancer cases and 914 male control patients and on 456 female lung cancer cases and 410 female controls interviewed between 1985 and 1990. The prevalence of menthol usage did not differ between cases and controls of either sex. No significant association was observed between either short-term (1–14 years) or long-term (15+ years) menthol use and lung cancer in logistic regression analyses adjusting for covariates. For specific histological types of lung cancer there was no indication of an association with menthol usage.
Supported by National Cancer Institute Program Project Grant CA32617 and Center Grant CA17613.