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Tob Induc Dis. 2011 May 23;9 Suppl 1:S7. doi: 10.1186/1617-9625-9-S1-S7.

The health effects of menthol cigarettes as compared to non-menthol cigarettes.

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1
Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. allison.hoffman@fda.hhs.gov.

Abstract

Since the 1920s, menthol has been added to cigarettes and used as a characterizing flavor. The health effects of cigarette smoking are well documented, however the health effects of menthol cigarettes as compared to non-menthol cigarettes is less well studied. This review discusses menthol's effects on 1) biomarkers of tobacco smoke exposure, 2) toxicity and cellular effects, 3) lung function and respiration, 4) pulmonary and/or vascular function, 5) allergic reactions and inflammation, and 6) tobacco-related diseases. It is concluded that menthol is a biologically active compound that has effects by itself and in conjunction with nicotine, however much of the data on the other areas of interest are inconclusive and firm conclusions cannot be drawn.

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