Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Richard Jimenez


Menthol is added to cigarettes to make smoking more convenient. Menthol is considered a contributing factor that makes smoking appealing to youths and their continuous smoking initiation, which progresses to regular cigarette smoking and addiction, especially among youths ages 12 to 19. Menthol encourages approximately 4,000 youths to experiment with smoking daily in the United States, of which approximately 1,000 become active smokers. Not enough is known regarding the influence of menthol on youth smoking initiation/smoking behavior. A quantitative analysis of data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) was used to explore the association between age, race/ethnicity, gender, grade (education level), and menthol cigarette smoking among youth ages 12 to 19. The sample size for this study consisted of 115 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, in the United States taken from the 2014 NYTS data. The theoretical framework for this study was the theory of planned behavior (TPB). The independent variables were ethnicity/race, gender, age, and grades (education level), while the dependent variable is the type of smoking: menthol versus nonmenthol. Bivariate analysis revealed that there was a statistically significant relationship between age (p = <.001), race/ethnicity (p = <.001), gender (p = <.001), grade (education level) (p = <.001), and menthol cigarette smoking; however, no statistically significant results were obtained in the multivariate regression analysis. Future research is needed to better determine and understand the factors associated with youth smoking initiation and behavior. The potential positive social change impact of this study is a better understanding of youth smoking behavior and the development of more effective prevention interventions to protect the health of this vulnerable population.