Kids who experiment with menthol cigarettes are more likely to become habitual smokers than their peers who start out with the regular variety, new research findings suggest.
In a study of tens of thousands of U.S. students, researchers found that kids who were dabbling with menthol cigarettes were 80 percent more likely to become regular smokers over the next few years, versus those experimenting with regular cigarettes. Menthol is added to cigarettes to give them a minty “refreshing” flavor. Critics have charged that menthol makes cigarettes more palatable to new smokers – many of whom are kids – and may be especially likely to encourage addiction.
“This study adds additional evidence that menthol cigarettes are a potential risk factor for kids becoming established, adult smokers,” said study leader James Nonnemaker, of the research institute RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Still, the findings, which appear in the journal Addiction, do not prove that menthol cigarettes are to blame. “The study’s subject to a number of limitations,”
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