4 Reasons Why Menthol Cigarettes are More Dangerous

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

In the US, it is estimated that 19% of the total adult population or 43 million people smoke cigarettes. And in every four cigarettes sold, one is a menthol cigarette. This is about 25% of the total cigarettes consumed. But why is this so?

Menthol is an organic compound naturally found in peppermint and other mint plants (spearmints). It is also synthetically produced and used in many products including cigarettes. Menthol cigarette are cigarettes flavored with the menthol compound. This clear crystalline substance triggers your temperature-sensitive nerves without really a drop in the temperature. This cooling sensation makes it easier and more comfortable for people to smoke. About 90 percent of cigarettes sold in the US contain menthol compound, even though they’re not marketed as menthol cigarettes – maybe among the reason why more and more people are easily becoming more addicted to smoking.



Because menthol possesses some pain-relieving characteristics it is often used in cough drops or vapor rubs. For instance, to treat minor throat irritation, cough drops is used. Because of this property, smoking menthol cigarettes is easily picked up.

So now what makes menthol cigarettes more dangerous? Below are 5 reasons why menthol cigarettes are more dangerous:

  • It makes smoking easier. Because menthol creates that cooling sensation every time a smoker puffs the cigarette, it makes it easier to inhale the smoke which makes it more pleasing and pleasurable for smokers. Without the roughness (which is common to non-menthol cigarettes) smokers are encouraged to puff more cigarettes. This also makes it easier for juveniles and young adults to pick up the habit.
  • More cigarettes mean more nicotine and deadly chemicals. While it is true that there is still no conclusive or clear study that directly implicates menthol to any new diseases, menthol can still be linked to early development of smoking diseases for a very practical and logical reason. Since it is easier to smoke, more and more people start smoking at early age and are more likely to smoke more cigarettes, they are more likely to consume more nicotine and deadly chemicals from cigarettes, which of course, lead to the early development of smoking related diseases.
  • It leads to another addiction. It is more difficult for smokers to give up smoking if they are into menthol cigarettes. Not only that the smoker will crave for nicotine but the menthol in itself creates a form of addiction. Once the smoker gets used to the cool sensation of menthol, his body is more likely to crave for it too.  He will become more uneasy if they don’t smoke.
  • It creates greater nicotine dependence. Smokers who smoke menthol cigarettes are more likely to experience a relapse.

Studies suggest that menthol flavored cigarettes is one the reasons why youth and young adults easily pick the habit of smoking. It is indicated that menthol is possibly linked to greater addiction making it more dangerous compared to ordinary cigarettes. Smokers who smoke menthol cigarettes show more signs of nicotine dependence and therefore they are less likely to quit the habit of smoking.


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