THURSDAY, Jan. 15, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- The cooling flavor of menthol cigarettes may make them more addictive and deadlier to smokers, a new study says.
"We previously found that menthol cigarette smokers take in more nicotine and carbon monoxide per cigarette. This study shows that menthol smokers also find it harder to quit, despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day," study author Kunal Gandhi, a researcher in the division of addiction psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said in a news release issued by the school.
In the study, which examined almost 1,700 people attending a university-run tobacco addiction clinic, blacks and Latinos who smoked menthol cigarettes had a notably harder time quitting than those smoking non-menthols. Blacks who smoked menthols, for example, had half the success in quitting as blacks using non-menthol cigarettes.
"These results build on growing evidence suggesting that menthol is not a neutral flavoring in cigarettes. It masks the harshness of the nicotine and toxins, affects the way the cigarette is smoked, and makes it more deadly and addictive," Jonathan Foulds, director of the university's Tobacco Dependence Program, said in the news release.
The findings were published in the online edition of The International Journal of Clinical Practice.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about quitting smoking.