Menthol Cigarettes May Be More Harmful Than Regular Cigarettes, Studies Say
Although menthol cigarettes have long been the escape for those seeking to minimize the adverse effects of tobacco, science has proven that these would be more harmful than normal. Precisely, in this article we will focus on some of the research that supports the hypothesis.
Before delving into this topic, we highlight that the efforts to reduce tobacco consumption seem to have an echo. According to the World Health Organization Global Report on trends in the prevalence of tobacco use between 2000 and 2025, the total number of smokers in the world decreased by 60 million people between 2000 and 2018.
The nicotine it contains is the cause of addiction and, according to an investigative report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the release of endorphins that occurs when consuming it leads people to want more.
At first, the substance raises dopamine levels, but over time it ends up altering the circuits linked to learning, stress and self-control.
Use of menthol in cigarettes
The first brand name to add menthol to its cigarettes was Spud ® in the 1920s. The sales promise of most companies is freshness and flavor in the mouth after consumption.
Added to this is the trend in the consumption of menthol cigarettes among the young population. According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Smoking (CNTP) of Spain, the hypothesis indicates that the pleasant taste generated by menthol would facilitate initiation in this population.
Among the reasons why there is greater preference is the ease with which the smoke enters and the least irritation. On the other hand, there is a false belief in the community that has seen, for decades, the use of menthol as something beneficial.
An article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that African American smokers and members of other ethnic minorities are the focus of advertising for menthol cigarettes, reinforcing consumption between them.
You can also read: Nicotine poisoning: symptoms and treatments
Why are menthol cigarettes more dangerous?
Although at first glance smokers of menthol cigarettes feel that it is easier to smoke them, there are physiological processes that are unknown and increase the damage. Although they cool the throat, this reflex that covers the dryness makes smokers inhale smoke more deeply and retain it for a longer time, as explained by the American Cancer Society.
On the other hand, studies indicate that this sensation occurs because menthol acts as an anesthetic for the airways. This suggests less discomfort to smokers, but it would mean an increase in the amount of daily cigarettes, aggravating and accelerating the adverse effects.
Menthol in e-cigarettes
However, there is no doubt that the menthol present in traditional cigarettes causes serious damage to health. But not as much as that caused by the menthol used in e-cigarettes. In addition to the origin of these types of products, the damage they cause is due to the presence of other harmful substances.
Studies indicate that serious lung injuries have been evidenced associated with the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping, such as the so-called outbreak EVALI. This disease is characterized by symptoms similar to those of pneumonia (cough, fever, and shortness of breath).
The reason? Apparently it would be the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and vitamin E acetate.
On the other hand, and no less important, we find the origin product that gives a minty flavor to cigarettes. According to a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected high amounts of pulegone in the liquids used in e-cigarettes with menthol.
This substance is one of the components of peppermint, peppermint and pennyroyal oil extracts. The problem with its consumption is that it has been reported as a potent carcinogen, according to tests that have been done on rodents.
Such is its impact that, in 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA for its original acronym) banned its use as a food additive. Due to the multiple alerts that have been issued about its health hazard, US tobacco companies have begun to minimize the levels of pulegone they use.
Finally, it is important to note that there is research being carried out in order to establish the risks associated with the inhalation of this substance and the others present in electronic cigarettes. So far, it is suggested that the risk is higher compared to traditional consumption.
It may be of interest to you: Nicotine gum: concentrations and instructions for use
Cigarette as a cause of cancer
According to a report from the World Health Organization, smoking kills 8 million people per year, of which more than 40% are associated with diseases such as lung cancer, COPD and tuberculosis.
For its part, the National Cancer Institute points out that tobacco is the leading cause of cancer and death from this disease in the world. Those responsible for this are the chemical compounds that it has and that can cause DNA damage.
The most common types of cancer that develop from this cause are lung, larynx, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, liver, kidney, colon and cervix. It is important to note that tobacco also affects those who use it indirectly.
More than 4,000 chemicals of unknown origin have been identified in the smoke from this product. About 250 of them have been classified as harmful, among which there are 50 carcinogens.
Quitting smoking is possible!
Either because you consume menthol or traditional cigarettes, it is possible that when you want to stop doing it, you develop withdrawal syndrome. As we mentioned, nicotine is one of the main substances that cause dependence.
Kicking this habit will prevent you from developing serious illnesses, such as cancer. In addition, you will also prevent your family or close friends from being affected by the side effects of smoke in the environment.
To facilitate the abandonment process it may be necessary to seek professional help and have support from a doctor. If this is your case, do not be afraid or ashamed. Your life is worth it.
Electronic cigarettes emerge as a way to reduce the risk of tobacco use. There are however concerns for your safety. Read more "