What is menthol?

Menthol is a substance naturally found in mint plants such as peppermint and spearmint. It gives a cooling sensation and is frequently used to relieve minor pain and irritation and to prevent infection 1 .

Which tobacco products contain menthol?

Menthol is found in cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco products, and tobacco rolling paper.

How much menthol is found in cigarettes?

About 90% of cigarettes marketed in the United States contain menthol, even if they are not advertised as menthol cigarettes. Only cigarettes containing a certain amount of menthol (0.1% to 0.45% of the tobacco filler weight) are marketed and advertised as menthol cigarettes 2 .

What are some common menthol cigarette brands?

Some common cigarette brands that are only made in menthol flavor include Kool, Newport, and Salem 3 . Other brands of menthol and non menthol cigarettes include Doral, Virginia Slims, Marlboro, and Camel 3, 4 .

Of all menthol and non menthol cigarettes, Marlboro is the brand used most often by 42.2% of smokers 5 . Newport is second (11.3%), followed by Camel (7.5%), Basic (4.2%), Doral (3.1%), Kool (2.9%), Parliament (2.0%), Salem (1.9%), and USA Gold (1.9%) 5 .

How long has menthol been a cigarette additive?

Menthol was first added to cigarettes during the 1920s. Spud was the first cigarette brand to add menthol 6 .

What is the difference between menthol and non menthol cigarettes?

Aside from the amount of menthol added, we need more research to understand the main differences between these cigarette types and how they are harmful to your health.

Is it safer to smoke a menthol cigarette than a non menthol cigarette?

No. All cigarettes are harmful, including menthol cigarettes. Many smokers think menthol cigarettes are less harmful, but there is no evidence that menthol cigarettes are safer than other cigarettes. Like other cigarettes, menthol cigarettes harm nearly every organ in the body and cause many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases. Menthol cigarettes, like other cigarettes, also negatively impact male and female fertility and are harmful to pregnant women and their unborn babies 7 .

Do menthol cigarettes contain fiberglass?

There is no evidence to suggest that fiberglass (used to make car parts) is in menthol cigarettes. However, there are more than 7,000 known chemical compounds, as well as toxic and carcinogenic agents, in tobacco and cigarette smoke 8 . Some of these include ammonia (used in fertilizer and household cleaning products), formaldehyde (used to preserve dead bodies), and methanol (used in antifreeze). All of these chemicals have been shown to cause cancer and other deadly diseases 9 .

Are menthol cigarettes more addictive than non menthol cigarettes?

Some research shows that menthol cigarettes may be more addictive than non menthol cigarettes 10 12 . More research is needed to understand how addiction differs between menthol and non menthol cigarette use.

Who smokes menthol cigarettes?

An estimated 43.8 million people, or 19.0% of all adults (aged 18 years or older), in the United States smoke cigarettes 13 . Approximately one out of every four cigarettes sold in the United States has the descriptor menthol on the cigarette pack. Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately smoked by certain groups, such as adolescents, African Americans, adult females, and families with lower income. The following trends in the use of menthol cigarettes can be seen among youth and adult smokers 25

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