More than 40% of smokers under the age of 18 smoke menthol cigarettes. The FDA has concluded that although menthol itself does not cause disease, it makes cigarettes more palatable. Thus, menthol in cigarettes posed a public health risk. The FDA is currently considering regulating menthol in cigarettes. So, why all the “fuss” about menthol cigarettes? What concerns are there about these tobacco products? Let’s just consider a few facts about these products.
39% of menthol smokers reported they would quit smoking if menthol cigarettes were banned. Prevalence of menthol cigarette smokers is higher among African-Americans, younger, and female smokers. African American smokers favor mentholated cigarettes by a 3-fold margin. Menthol cigarette smokers had significantly lower odds of stopping smoking than non-menthol users.
Menthol cigarette use was associated with increased concentration of blood cadmium (a carcinogen) and higher levels of Carbon Monoxide with having smoked fewer cigarettes. Women who smoked menthol cigarettes showed signs of greater tobacco dependence than non-menthol smokers. Young people who first tried menthol cigarettes are at greater risk of progression to regular smoking and tobacco dependence.
Tobacco companies continue to perform active research to identify the product that would be least “irritating” to the throat and most addictive to promote lifelong use of their product. Menthol cigarettes are a “perfect” fit. They entice people to smoke and keep people smoking cigarettes – the only product that will kill more than 60% of its consumers