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Note to new smokers: Menthol cigarettes only seem more benign

December 3, 2009 |  2:35 pm

Butts New smokers like menthol. A new study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration offers some data on just how much they like it.

Not only is use of menthol cigarettes more common among novice smokers than among well-practiced smokers (44.6% compared with 31.8%), use of the cigarettes has risen from 31% in 2004 to 33.9% in 2008.

Menthol is a mint-like additive that feels soothing. One can see the appeal to those -- adolescents, perhaps -- not used to deliberately dragging smoke into their lungs. But cigarette smoke is still cigarette smoke.

Here's the full report. And here's an earlier story on the Food and Drug Administration's recent ban of cigarettes with fruit, candy or clove -- but not menthol -- flavors.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg

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Lorillard Tobacco Company issued the following statement with regard to the report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) about the use of menthol cigarettes, which was released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

"While we have not had the opportunity to review this report in depth, the most comprehensive government sponsored studies show that populations who use menthol have lower smoking rates across all age groups.

"Importantly, this report appears to ignore the chief finding of the survey -- that menthol use among underage smokers has leveled off in the last year. According to current data, adult smoking rates continue to decline, while youth rates are at historic lows and have been in decline for more than a decade.

"The current weight of scientific evidence does not support the conclusion that menthol cigarettes confer a greater health risk than non-menthol.

"Lorillard looks forward to cooperating with the FDA as it makes an objective science-based assessment in its review of menthol."

Posted on behalf of Lorillard Tobacco Company


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