It gives a cooling sensation and is often used to prevent infections and relieve minor pain and irritation. Menthol is added to many products such as lozenges, syrups, ointments, nasal sprays among others. But none of these products are harmful like a menthol cigarette.
A menthol cigarette is a modified cigarette that contains menthol. Since the 1920s, menthol has been added to cigarettes and used as a characterizing flavour. Studies show that menthol is a biologically active compound that effects independently as well as in conjunction with nicotine. Menthol cigarettes have the same negative health consequences as conventional cigarettes. They are not a "safer" alternative. In fact, the addition of menthol makes it more appealing to new smokers since it masks the bitter taste and the irritating effects of tobacco smoke. And it can also be highly addictive!
Many people chose menthol cigarettes because they believed it to be safer than non-menthol cigarettes. They are not! Let's understand why:
Increased exposure to nicotine
People who smoke menthol cigarettes usually take larger puffs and have greater nicotine exposure. Menthol cigarettes entice smokers with their mint flavor, making it harder to quit smoking. It reduces the pain, irritation, and itching associated with tobacco smoke. Thus, making it more comfortable to smoke. Its cooling effect in the lungs let users inhale more often, more deeply and hold the smoke longer. These factors cause an increase in the lung exposure to nicotine. Nicotine is not only addictive, but also leads to deadly diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Adverse health effects
Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. Smoking is the leading risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis leads to heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. People who smoke have decreased lifespan and reduced quality of life because of smoking-related illnesses. Since menthol is associated with many over the counter health products, many consumers are misled to believe in menthol cigarette. Menthol desensitizes the receptors in the lung and airways. It also appears to slow or prevent the recovery of sensitivity.
The tobacco companies know that almost all new tobacco users begin their addiction as kids, but they also know that to novice smokers, tobacco can be harsh and unappealing. Menthol has particularly appealing qualities and has now become a starter product for the millennials. Menthol numbs the throat thereby reducing the harshness of cigarette smoke. It stimulates the same nerves in the mouth and throat as nicotine and increases the favourable impact of smoking.
No medicinal support
Unlike menthol in over the counter products that is good for health, menthol in cigarettes act as a top-up for devastating diseases. Back in 1950’s¬¬¬, menthol cigarettes were suggested as a 'healthy alternative' for cigarettes. Though scientifically incorrect, the myth still lingers. Menthol provides a cooling sensation and reduces bitterness, but doesn't offer medicinal or health benefits.
Menthol in cigarettes does not reduce the harmful effects of smoking, instead makes it easier to start smoking and become an addict. Menthol cigarettes Make it harder to quit smoking.