Many smokers turn to menthol cigarettes because they are lighter and theoretically better for the body, but a new study from Duke University and the University of Connecticut shows that menthol actually worsens smoking addiction and increases nicotine exposure over time. The researchers concluded that “Menthol may increase the numbers of smokers — they get addicted quicker and have a harder time quitting. It’s a tool to make people addicted.”
Smoking addiction is often disregarded as a form of substance abuse because it is so prevalent in America and other parts of the world. The long-term health concerns cigarettes bring with them can make them just as harmful as heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and harder addictive substances. This new research indicates that menthol cigarettes are more dangerous in terms of addictiveness than standard cigarettes.
The Study: How Menthol Increases Smoking Addiction
Researchers from both universities assessed mice over the course of nine years. During that time, they found that menthol suppresses smoke-induced irritation, so smokers are able to inhale smoke easier and gain more nicotine from each puff. The results also suggested that beginning smokers are more likely to prefer menthol cigarettes because they are less irritating, so they become addicted faster and they stay addicted longer.
Another study from 2014 found that teenagers who smoke menthol products are more likely to smoke than those who use regular cigarettes. Buffalo University saw a sharp increase in menthol use among teenagers, and they suggested that banning menthol cigarettes could reduce the smoking rates in teenagers.
The Dangers Of Smoking Addiction
Smoking is considered one of the biggest preventable causes of death in America, resulting in more than 440,000 deaths per year. Nearly 50,000 of smoking-related deaths are from secondhand smoke exposure, where the victim is not the person smoking. Many smokers are unaware of the risk for lung cancer and other respiratory conditions because cigarettes are legal and readily available. Those who acknowledge the problems after they are addicted often find it hard to fight the addiction or stay away from cigarettes for good.
Getting Help For Smoking Addiction
If you suffer from smoking addiction or any other form of drug addiction, there are therapies available to help you through the recovery process. One of the counselors from Perspectives Of Troy would be happy to discuss your options with you. At the very least, wean yourself off menthol cigarettes if those are your drug of choice. As the studies above show, getting away from menthol will help you conquer your addiction easier in the long run.
* Sources: University of Waterloo