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What is Menthol

Menthol is a naturally found compound, it’s found in plants of the mint family (Lamiaceae), scientific name Mentha. It is used widely in consumer products such as cough drops, cigarettes, flavored cigars and topical creams, due to its cooling and soothing qualities. Menthol can provide a refreshing sensation from ailments like coughing, congestion, and sore throat, its impact on health is an ongoing study and debate. Some studies have shown that menthol may actually contribute to addiction, making it much harder for individuals to quit smoking tobacco products, and other studies have shown that it may have an effect on the respiratory system. There is evidence that menthol could have adverse effects on oral health as well. Research of menthol use and its effects on the health are still being studied, it is important to do research on menthol alone, and also in use with tobacco products.

Tobacco use can negatively impact the health causing many serious health issues. Studies have shown high numbers of premature deaths directly related to tobacco use, with premature deaths being in the millions. Tobacco may cause serious health issues such as cancer, lung cancer, COPD, and heart disease. Menthol added to tobacco products have disproportionately affected impacted communities, targeting certain racial and ethnic groups.

The results have shown:

  • More than 8 of 10 Black/African American smokers use menthol tobacco
  • Around 48% of Hispanic smokers who smoke use menthol tobacco
  • Roughly 41% of Asian/AAPI who smoke use menthol tobacco
  • Around half of youth smokers prefer menthol, and this percentage is higher than the 40% of adults age 18 and older who use menthol tobacco.
  • Menthol use is higher among LGBT individuals at being around 49% compared to 40% of heterosexual individuals.

” On May 4, 2022, FDA issued two proposed rules that would stop the sale of cigarettes with menthol as a characterizing flavor and remove all flavored cigars from the marketplace. This action is long overdue and will save lives and reduce tobacco-related health disparities. While the number of people smoking continues to decrease, the presence of menthol on the market continues to be an issue. As of 2020, about 37% of all cigarette sales were menthol cigarettes, the highest rate since major tobacco companies were required to report this data.”

~American Lung Association



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