Research News Roundup: July 28, 2022

    Smoking Quit Rates Among Menthol vs Nonmenthol Smokers: Implications Regarding a US Ban on the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes

    Journal: JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2022,

    Authors: Heather M. Munro, Martha J. Shrubsole, Wei Zheng, Wanqing Wen & William J. Blot


    Background: A ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes in the United States is currently under consideration. A justification is that menthol cigarettes are harder to quit, particularly for African American smokers who use menthols much more frequently than White smokers, but epidemiologic data are limited.

    Methods: In a cohort of 16 425 mostly low-income African American and White current cigarette smokers enrolled during 2002-2009, we computed smoking quit and reuptake rates at 3 follow-ups conducted means of 4.6, 7.7, and 11 years after entry. Generalized estimation equations were used to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for quitting and resuming smoking for menthol vs nonmenthol smokers adjusted for race, age, education, income, and smoking pack-years.

    Results: Crude annual quit rates among current smokers were 4.3% for menthol and 4.5% for nonmenthol smokers, with adjusted odds ratios of quitting for menthol vs nonmenthol smokers of 1.01 (95% CI = 0.91 to 1.11) overall, 0.99 (95% CI = 0.87 to 1.12) among African American smokers, and 1.02 (95% CI = 0.88 to 1.20) among White smokers. Crude annual smoking reuptake rates were somewhat higher among menthol smokers (8.4%) than nonmenthol smokers (7.1%), with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.19 (95% CI = 0.97 to 1.47), but net quit rates remained similar (OR = 1.01, 95% CI = 0.90 to 1.13 overall; OR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.86 to 1.15 among African American participants; and OR = 1.04, 95% CI = 0.87 to 1.24 among White participants).

    Conclusions: This large-scale prospective survey revealed similar quit rates among menthol and nonmenthol smokers. Results contribute to policy discussions, especially if, as a meta-analysis suggests, lung cancer risk is higher for nonmenthol smokers and a ban leads menthol smokers to switch to nonmenthol cigarettes.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Health Care Provider Decision-Making Around Prenatal Substance Use Reporting

    Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109514

    Authors: Sarah C. M. Roberts, Claudia Zaugg & Noelle Martinez


    Background: Recent research has found that harms related to alcohol and/or drug (AOD) use during pregnancy are not limited to those associated with use itself; harms also result from policies and health care practices adopted in response, including reporting to Child Protective Services (CPS). This study sought to understand factors that influence health care providers’ reporting practices.

    Methods: We conducted 37 semi-structured interviews with hospital-based obstetricians/gynecologists, family medicine physicians, and emergency department physicians, focused on experiences with reporting pregnant/birthing people with AOD to government authorities. We deductively applied an implementation science framework, the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to identify the relevant domains and then inductively coded within domains to identify sub-themes.

    Results: Most participants saw reporting as someone else’s job, primarily social workers. While a few participants associated reporting with increased connection to services, many participants expressed awareness of negative consequences associated with reporting. Nonetheless, participants were much more concerned about potential harms to the baby associated with not reporting and expressed considerable anxiety about these harms occurring if a report was not made. While a few participants described making reporting decisions themselves, most described interpersonal, hospital-level, and state policy-level factors that constrained their decision-making.

    Conclusions: Many of the factors that influence physician decision-making in reporting pregnant/birthing people who use AOD to CPS are outside the control of individual physicians and require social, structural, and policy changes. Those that are individual-focused involve intense emotions and thus are unlikely to be influenced by solely didactic cognitive-focused trainings.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Identifying Key Risk Factors for Premature Discontinuation of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in The United States: A Predictive Modeling Study

    Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109507

    Authors: Celia Stafford, Wesley J. Marrero, Rebecca B. Naumann, Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Sarah Wakeman & Mohammad S. Jalali


    Background: Treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), particularly medication for OUD, is highly effective; however, retention in OUD treatment is a significant challenge. We aimed to identify key risk factors for premature exit from OUD treatment.

    Methods: We analyzed 2,381,902 cross-sectional treatment episodes for individuals in the U.S., discharged between Jan/1/2015 and Dec/31/2019. We developed classification models (Random Forest, Classification and Regression Trees (CART), Bagged CART, and Boosted CART), and analyzed 31 potential risk factors for premature treatment exit, including treatment characteristics, substance use history, socioeconomic status, and demographic characteristics. We stratified our analysis based on length of stay in treatment and service setting. Models were compared using cross-validation and the receiver operating characteristic area under the curve (ROC-AUC).

    Results: Random Forest outperformed other methods (ROC-AUC: 74%). The most influential risk factors included characteristics of service setting, geographic region, primary source of payment, and referral source. Race, ethnicity, and sex had far weaker predictive impacts. When stratified by treatment setting and length of stay, employment status and delay (days waited) to enter treatment were among the most influential factors. Their importance increased as treatment duration decreased. Notably, importance of referral source increased as the treatment duration increased. Finally, age and age of first use were important factors for lengths of stay of 2-7 days and in detox treatment settings.

    Conclusions: The key factors of OUD treatment attrition identified in this analysis should be more closely explored (e.g., in causal studies) to inform targeted policies and interventions to improve models of care.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Behavioral Economics and Tobacco Control: Current Practices and Future Opportunities

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022, doi: 10.3390/ijerph19138174.

    Authors: Dalia Littman, Scott E. Sherman, Andrea B. Troxel & Elizabeth R. Stevens


    Despite considerable progress, smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. To address the considerable health and economic burden of tobacco use, the development of improved tobacco control and treatment interventions is critical. By combining elements of economics and psychology, behavioral economics provides a framework for novel solutions to treat smokers who have failed to quit with traditional smoking cessation interventions. The full range of behavioral economic principles, however, have not been widely utilized in the realm of tobacco control and treatment. Given the need for improved tobacco control and treatment, the limited use of other behavioral economic principles represents a substantial missed opportunity. For this reason, we sought to describe the principles of behavioral economics as they relate to tobacco control, highlight potential gaps in the behavioral economics tobacco research literature, and provide examples of potential interventions that use each principle.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Marijuana Use in Children: An Update Focusing on Pediatric Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Use

    Journal: Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open (JACEP Open), 2022, doi: 10.1002/emp2.12770

    Authors: Michael J. Stoner, Ann Dietrich, Samuel Hiu-Fung Lam, Jessica J. Wall, Carmen Sulton & Emily Rose


    Cannabis is the most used recreational drug in the United States, and its use is increasing among children and adolescents. With the increase in legalized use, there have been increases in intentional and accidental cannabis exposure in the pediatric population. There is also minimized perceived risk. We review the current use of cannabis and its derivatives, the drug effects and clinical presentation, common misconceptions, pharmacology, and epidemiology. Finally, we review some long-term consequences of cannabis use.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    July 2022