Cancer and Tobacco Control

Menthol worse than regular cigarettes

Researchers, comparing the risks of menthol cigarettes to that of regular cigarettes, found that the stroke risk for smokers of menthol cigarettes was more than twice that of people smoking regular cigarettes. And for women, and non-black participants, the risk was more than three times higher.

This is according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

How menthol cigarettes raise the risk of stroke more than other cigarettes are not fully understood. ‘€œOne potential mechanism is that menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors, which can increase breath-holding time, which may in turn facilitate the entrance of cigarette particulate matter into the lungs,’€ said the study author, Dr Nicholas Vozoris of St Michael’€™s Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

For this study, the researchers used data from the 2001-2008 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys on more than 5 000 smokers aged 20 and older. About 26% said they usually smoked menthols. The researchers found that stroke risk associated with smoking menthols was 2.25 times higher compared to regular smokers; 3.28 times higher for women, and 3.48 times higher for non-blacks.

No ‘€˜good’€™ type of cigarette

The author warns that these findings should not be interpreted as any one type of cigarette being safer than any other. ‘€œThere is no ‘€˜good’€™ cigarette type,’€ Vozoris said. ‘€œSmoking any kind of cigarette is bad for one’€™s health, and serves to increase one’€™s risk for a variety of cancers, heart disease and lung diseases. However, this study shows that smoking mentholated cigarettes may place one at even higher risk for stroke than smoking regular, non-mentholated cigarettes.’€

Research on menthol cigarettes is generally inconclusive. Last year, a US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said a ban on mentholated cigarettes might benefit the public health because the minty flavour seems to help people take up smoking more easily. However, the panel did not conclude that menthols were more harmful than regular cigarettes in terms of risk for lung cancer or other respiratory ailments.

Shortly after that recommendation was made, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that people who smoke menthol cigarettes might even have a somewhat lower risk for developing and dying from lung cancer than other smokers.

Source: HealthDay News

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