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Tob Control. 2011 May;20 Suppl 2:ii37-43. doi: 10.1136/tc.2010.041988.

Menthol sensory qualities and smoking topography: a review of tobacco industry documents.

Author information

1
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Box 0612, San Francisco, CA 94143-0612, USA. valerie.yerger@ucsf.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine what the tobacco industry knew about the potential effects of menthol on smoking topography-how a person smokes a cigarette.

METHODS:

A snowball strategy was used to systematically search the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu) between 1 June 2010 and 9 August 2010. We qualitatively analysed a final collection of 252 documents related to menthol and smoking topography.

RESULTS:

The tobacco industry knew that menthol has cooling, anaesthetic and analgesic properties that moderate the harshness and irritation of tobacco. Owing to its physiological effects, menthol contributes to the sensory qualities of the smoke and affects smoking topography and cigarette preference.

CONCLUSION:

Our review of industry studies suggests that the amount of menthol in a cigarette is associated with how the cigarette is smoked and how satisfying it is to the smoker. If menthol in cigarettes was banned, as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering, new/experimental smokers might choose not to smoke rather than experience the harshness of tobacco smoke and the irritating qualities of nicotine. Similarly, established menthol smokers might choose to quit if faced with an unpleasant smoking alternative.

PMID:
21504930
PMCID:
PMC3088462
DOI:
10.1136/tc.2010.041988
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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