Menthol cigarettes may be more addictive than cigarettes without menthol because they reduce the protective respiratory responses to irritants in cigarette smoke, according to a study by researchers at Yale and the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, published online in September in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
The scientists also say that the biggest danger is to young smokers. “Menthol may make smoke inhalation easier to tolerate and therefore promote nicotine addiction and smoking-related illness,” said author Sven-Eric Jordt, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology at the School of Medicine. “Studies indicate that most young people smoke menthol cigarettes. So they are being exposed to higher levels of nicotine and other toxic substances at a young age, which may lead to rapid addiction and ultimately to the development of smoking-related disease.”