Article Text

PDF
Malaysian and Thai smokers' beliefs about the harmfulness of ‘light’ and menthol cigarettes
  1. B King1,
  2. H-H Yong1,
  3. R Borland1,
  4. M Omar2,
  5. A A Ahmad2,
  6. B Sirirassamee3,
  7. S Hamann4,
  8. R J O'Connor5,
  9. M Bansal-Travers5,
  10. T Elton-Marshall6,
  11. W B Lee6,
  12. D Hammond7,
  13. J Thrasher8
  1. 1VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2National Poisons Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
  3. 3Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
  4. 4Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand
  5. 5Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, New York, USA
  6. 6Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  8. 8Department of Health Promotion, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Bill King, VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria, 100 Drummond St Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia; bill.king{at}cancervic.org.au

Abstract

Objective This study explored the extent to which Malaysian and Thai smokers believe “light” and menthol cigarettes are less harmful than “regular” cigarettes and the correlates of these beliefs.

Methods The study used data from wave 1 of the International Tobacco Control Southeast Asia Survey. 2006 adult smokers (95.3% male) from Malaysia and 2000 adult smokers (94.5% male) from Thailand were interviewed face to face in 2005.

Results 29% of Malaysian respondents reported currently smoking light cigarettes and 14% menthols, with 19% agreeing that lights are less harmful and 16% agreeing that menthols are less harmful. 38% of Thai respondents reported currently smoking light cigarettes and 19% menthols, with 46% agreeing that lights are less harmful and 35% agreeing that menthols are less harmful. Malaysian smokers reporting current use of light or menthol cigarettes were more likely to believe that they are less harmful. Reported use of lights did not relate to beliefs for Thai respondents. The belief that light and/or menthol cigarettes are less harmful was strongly related to the belief that they have smoother smoke.

Conclusions The experience of smoother smoke is likely to produce some level of belief in reduced harm, regardless of how brands are labelled and whether or not Federal Trade Commission FTC/International Organisation for Standardisation tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yield figures are used.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Funding The ITC-SEA Project is supported by multiple grants including R01 CA 100362 and P50 CA111236 (Roswell Park Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center) and also in part from grant P01 CA138389 (Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York), all funded by the National Cancer Institute of the United States, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (79551), Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and the Malaysian Ministry of Health.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The ITC SEA study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee from all of the institutions listed.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.