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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(1), 1-14; doi:10.3390/ijerph8010001

The Impact of Menthol Cigarettes on Smoking Initiation among Non-Smoking Young Females in Japan

1,* , 1,* , 2
1 Center for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Landmark Center, 3rd Floor East, Boston, MA 02215, USA 2 Department of Environmental and Preventative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Nishimachi 86, Yonago, Tottori 683-8503, Japan
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 November 2010 / Revised: 17 December 2010 / Accepted: 22 December 2010 / Published: 23 December 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Smoking: Public Health, Science and Policy)
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Japan presents an excellent case-study of a nation with low female smoking rates and a negligible menthol market which changed after the cigarette market was opened to foreign competition. Internal tobacco industry documents demonstrate the intent of tobacco manufacturers to increase initiation among young females through development and marketing of menthol brands. Japanese menthol market share rose rapidly from less than 1% in 1980 to 20% in 2008. Menthol brand use was dominated by younger and female smokers, in contrast with non-menthol brands which were used primarily by male smokers. Nationally representative surveys confirm industry surveys of brand use and provide further evidence of the end results of the tobacco industry’s actions—increased female smoking in Japan. These findings suggest that female populations may be encouraged to initiate into smoking, particularly in developing nations or where female smoking rates remain low, if the tobacco industry can successfully tailor brands to them. The Japanese experience provides a warning to public health officials who wish to prevent smoking initiation among young females.
Keywords: female-smoking; smokers; initiation; menthol; Japan female-smoking; smokers; initiation; menthol; Japan
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Connolly, G.N.; Behm, I.; Osaki, Y.; Wayne, G.F. The Impact of Menthol Cigarettes on Smoking Initiation among Non-Smoking Young Females in Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 1-14.

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