Menthol cigarettes increase youth smoking, nicotine addiction
Researchers have noted that the proportion of 12- to 17-year-old cigarette smokers who smoke menthol has risen to 56% and these menthol cigarettes appear to have led them to smoke more frequently and become more dependent on nicotine.
The 'cooling' sensation of menthol masks the harshness of tobacco which can make cigarettes more palatable to youth. Additionally, this cooling sensation can allow smoke to be inhaled deeper and held for long, which can result in a greater absorption of nicotine per puff.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the U.S. Tobacco use is associated with 1 in 5 deaths. More than 90% of current smokers start smoking as teenagers, and it is estimated that 80% of youths who used tobacco began with flavored tobacco products.
Researchers therefore concluded that the addition of menthol to cigarettes is increasing smoking frequency and nicotine dependency among youth. Menthol cigarettes are also making it harder for them to progress towards quitting. Hence, these results provide strong support for the FDA-proposed ban on menthol flavoring in cigarettes to protect our youth.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)