Menthol Is the Original Flavored Tobacco Product

November 9, 2020

Now is the time to shed a light on menthol, the “original flavored” product the tobacco industry has used for a century to make smoking easier to start and harder to quit. 10 years ago, menthol cigarettes were exempted from the Tobacco Control Act, which banned all other flavored cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes were originally developed for and promoted to women, now they’ve shifted their focus to the African American community, LGBTQ and low-income individuals. Menthol cigarettes are even worse than regular cigarettes because menthol makes it easier for smokers to inhale more deeply and allows for harmful particles to settle deeper inside the lungs.

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Menthol has been a recruitment tool for far too long. Big Tobacco has added menthol flavoring to cigarettes for nearly a century to mask tobacco’s harsh taste, making the toxic smoke easier to inhale.3 But that ease comes with a price. The smoothness of menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply, so harmful particles can settle lower in the lungs.4 Menthol cigarettes are also harder to stop – people who use menthol cigarettes have a harder time quitting.5,6

For more information and ways you can put an end to menthol in your community, visit

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Additional information on the tobacco industry’s menthol manipulation:

References renameme

  1. "The Impact of Menthol on Public Health," California Department of Public Health California Tobacco Control Program
  2. "Menthol tobacco use is correlated with mental health symptoms in a national sample of young adults: implications for future health risks and policy recommendations," 8 January 2016
  3. Kreslake JM, Wayne GF, Alpert HR, Koh HK, Connolly GN. Tobacco industry control of menthol in cigarettes and targeting of adolescents and young adults. Am J Public Health. 2008;98(9):1685–1692. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2007.125542
  4. Kreslake JM, Yerger VB. Tobacco industry knowledge of the role of menthol in chemosensory perception of tobacco smoke. Nicotine Tob Res. 2010;12 Suppl 2:S98–S101. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntq208
  5. Levy DT, Blackman K, Tauras J, et al. Quit attempts and quit rates among menthol and nonmenthol smokers in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2011;101(7):1241–1247. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300178
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Preliminary scientific evaluation of the possible public health effects of menthol versus nonmenthol cigarettes. July 2013.