Menthol cigarettes as defined by Wikipedia are cigarettes flavored with the compound menthol, a substance known to create a cooling sensation without a corresponding drop in environmental temperature simply by triggering cold-sensitive nerves.
These kind of cigarettes were first developed in 1924 in Ohio though they were not popular till 1927 when Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company acquired the patent.
Gradually but steadily more menthol brands were developed, making sure that there was great demand for the product as it was marketed to be more appealing than regular cigarettes.
Menthol cigarettes are not manufactured in a different manner from non-menthol cigarettes, the only disparity being that at some stage in the production process, some menthol is added as a flavor.
The added menthol can be synthesized or derived from the distillation of corn mint oil. It has however been noticed that during smoking, the menthol feel gradually depletes with each drag.
Patronage of menthol cigarettes differs from country to country but worldwide studies show that the Philippines have the highest consumption of the cigarettes with over 60% of total cigarettes sales.
They are also quite popular in the United States although statistics have revealed that in recent times consumption has somewhat reduced.
A couple of countries have banned the use of menthol cigarettes out rightly, one of such countries is Brazil. The ban was enacted alongside the ban on the consumption of flavored cigarettes in the country.
The European Union also voted to ban the product by the year 2022 majorly because of the health concerns it poses.
Pros of Smoking Menthol Cigarettes
Many smokers have become extremely devoted to smoking menthol cigarettes, it has become more like a religion of some sort.
The question several people have asked is, “why menthol cigarettes?” What benefits do the smokers derive from this product?
After some research, we came up with a few reasons which are most likely to cut across most menthol cigarette smokers.
1) It has been shown that this brand of cigarettes allows for the safe consumption of menthol. Menthol being a chemical compound is required to be taken in very small amounts as an overdose could be extremely harmful to the human body. Menthol cigarettes are known to have just about 0.3% of their weight made up of menthol.
2) The cigarettes provide the smoker with fresh and cool sensations, especially from deep inhalations which get through to the lungs. This coolness can be quite refreshing.
3) The cigarettes have a light flavor which is more pleasant than that produced by the regular kind of cigarettes.
4) Smokers of menthol cigarettes, especially chain smokers, are known to derive more pleasure and satisfaction from the consumption of this sort of brand over any other on the market.
5) There several brands of menthol cigarettes on the market, each with its own unique feel, making them easily accessible. Every smoker should try one sometime, according to some menthol cigarette smokers.
Probably due to the above-stated reasons, many people have become menthol-only cigarette smokers, but while basking in the advantages it is important to also check out the disadvantages so we can weigh the options properly.
Cons of Smoking Menthol Cigarettes
Highlighted below are some of the disadvantages of smoking menthol cigarettes, these were carefully culled from several researches and statistics.
Increased Exposure to Nicotine
As stated earlier, smoking menthol cigarettes provides the smoker with a refreshing cool feeling, especially in the lungs. This feeling gives the smoker the ability to take deeper drags, keep the smoke in the lungs for longer and on an overall scale smoke almost twice the number of cigarettes a non-menthol cigarette smoker will consume.
This increased consumption in turn exposes the smoker to nicotine, one of the primary ingredients of cigarettes. Nicotine is known to cause severe cases of heart and lung diseases, among several others, and that is asides increasing the propensity to be addicted.
Studies show that menthol triggers about the same nerve endings in the mouth and throat as nicotine. As a result of this, most tobacco companies have resorted to replacing nicotine with menthol in lite cigarettes.
The menthol, as strange as it sounds, produces almost double the effect of nicotine as researchers show that menthol smokers consume almost double the number of cigarettes regular smokers consume within the same period of time.
A study of young smokers in Canada showed that the menthol smokers consumed about forty-three sticks of cigarette, which was almost double of the twenty-six smoked by regular smokers within one week. Menthol smokers are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night for a smoke.
Severe and Devastating Health Effects
Smoking generally is known to be one of the major causes of lung cancers amongst other health issues like pulmonary heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, etc.
Then most surprising fact about menthol cigarettes is that in no way do they alleviate health concerns from smoking. In fact, in reality they make it worse since the smoker has a greater tendency to consume cigarettes and be addicted than the regular smoker.
This continual addiction means the body organs are more susceptible to health issues which gradually reduce the life expectancy of a menthol cigarettes smoker.
Not a Single Medicinal Benefit
In the earlier years, tobacco companies made menthol cigarette consumption popular by touting that it possessed medicinal abilities. This was proven patently false years later but till date most menthol cigarette smokers give this excuse as their major reason for its consumption.
The truth is menthol has a soothing cooling effect but smoking menthol cigarettes has no medicinal effects on the body, it cannot even cure a simple sore throat.
Menthol smokers have a higher risk of being hospitalized
Due to the constant consumption of menthol cigarettes, most smokers who patronize this brand are likely to visit the hospital more often. This is because their health deteriorates faster and thus before long, they are tied to the hospital bed. In fact they have a 29% chance of being hospitalized more than regular cigarette smokers.
It is evident that even though there are advantages to smoking menthol cigarettes, it is best to stay off them as the cons far outweigh the merits.