Gina Jaqua

Major and Classification

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Double Minor in Natural Science and Gerontology

Faculty Mentor

Tess Boley-Cruz, Ph.D.


Keck School of Medicine, Keck- Institute For Preventive Research

McNair Project

“Demographic and Behavioral Factors Associated with African American’s Preference for Menthol Cigarettes and their Preferred Methods of Cessation”

Project Abstract

African Americans have a high rate of menthol cigarette use and an associated high prevalence of heart disease and lung cancer. Many variables may contribute to the high rates of menthol use such as social networks, culture, socio-economic status, education, and difference between genders. The purpose of this research project is to determine which factors influence menthol cigarette use in the African American population as well as to determine preferred methods of cessation. The sample size of this study is N=70. Data were collected from African American males and females, ages 18 and over, who were recruited primarily through eight churches in the greater Los Angeles area as well as through social network websites. Participants were invited to an online survey based on whether they were adults and smokers. This study presents preliminary data, thus the primary investigator intends to continue research recruitment and analysis. This research identifies the associated factors that influence African American’s preferences for menthol: 1) the flavor and the taste of menthol is appealing, and 2) there is misconception of the health consequences associated with menthol tobacco smoke. Among the respondents who are interested in quitting, 70% of women and 22% of men are willing to speak to a professional counselor for low or no cost about ways to increase their motivation, setting a quitting plan, and finding ways to avoid triggers that cause them to smoke. As tobacco smoke is the leading most preventable cause of death in the United States, these results could provide knowledge to design and deliver more effective menthol smoking prevention and cessation programs for African Americans.