The mint flavoring in menthol cigarettes makes it harder for smokers to quit but easier for youth to start smoking according to US health officials. Existing research that has been reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration shows that there’s not much evidence that menthol cigarettes are less or more dangerous than non-menthol cigarettes. However, research suggests that menthol use is likely more associated with a rise in smoking initiation by the young and people in early adulthood. Greater addiction is also attributed to menthol in cigarettes because studies indicate that menthol smokers are less likely to successful stop smoking and show greater signs of dependency according to studies.
Evidence shows the cooling and anesthetic properties in menthol cigarettes can make cigarettes more tolerable and less harsh on the throat and lungs. This makes it more likely that menthol cigarettes pose a bigger health risk than non menthol cigarettes. All comments, research, data and additional information from a new review will be gathered by the FDA in the next two months to determine what, if any action needs to be taken to regulate menthol cigarettes. Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009 to give the FDA regulatory authority over the tobacco industry.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg says menthol cigarettes raise critical public health questions and that the FDA is determined to take an approach based on since to address the public health issues raised by menthol cigarettes. She adds that the public’s opinion will help the FDA make more informed decisions about the best way to figure out how to take on this important issue moving forward. Menthol in cigarettes has been an ingredient that has seen some controversy for years now. Menthol’s interactions in the brain may play a bigger role in appealing to smokers than previously thought according to a recently published study.
The peppermint plant is what menthol derives from and is more known as an ingredient used in medicines like cough drops. However, a lot of smokers know about its use in cigarettes. The American Legacy Foundation wants a ban on menthol cigarettes and advocates against tobacco use, they claim that menthol covers up the taste of tobacco and reduces throat irritation. New studies are being tested to prove that menthol alters the actions of nicotine on its target receptor in the brain which contributes to nicotine addiction.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.