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Menthol cigarettes are associated with more teen smoking

Menhol cigarettes on sale
Menhol cigarettes on sale
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There is no doubt about it that smoking cigarettes is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Yet, a lot of people continue to smoke as cigarette makers continue to invest in luring people to want to smoke. Menthol cigarettes have been found to be associated with increased smoking among teens reported the University of Waterloo on Friday, June 20, 2014

A new study has shown that teens who smoke menthol cigarettes smoke more cigarettes daily than their peers who smoke non-menthol cigarettes. This research was done at the Propel Center for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. This study marks the first time that menthol cigarettes have been directly associated with increased nicotine addiction among youth in Canada.

Sunday Azagba, a scientist at Propel and lead author on the paper, has said that the appeal which menthol cigarettes has among youth stems from the perception that they are not as harmful as regular cigarettes. Although the refreshing minty taste helps to mask the noxious properties, the reality is that they are just as dangerous as any non-menthol cigarette.

In this study it was found that menthol users smoked on an average of 43 cigarettes a week, which was close to double the 26 smoked by non-menthol users. It was also observed that menthol smokers were almost three times more likely to say that they intend to continue smoking during the next year.

Azagba says there has been a growing concern that the high popularity of menthol cigarettes among youth may undermine the recent progress in preventing other young people from smoking because many of them may experiment with menthol instead of unflavoured brands. Azagba says these findings indicate that young people smoking menthol cigarettes is a serious concern. He has suggested that new laws are needed which would ban all added flavors in all tobacco products.

Research has suggested that menthol cigarette smoking is associated with nicotine dependence reports the journal Cancer Causes & Control. Findings dealing with the relationship between menthol smoking status and quantity of cigarettes which are smoked has not been as clear. This study suggests that mentholated tobacco products have a significant effect on adolescent smoking. It is therefore worth considering support of initiatives aimed at making the use of menthol and other flavors in cigarettes illegal.

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