Menthol is added to cigarettes to give a cooling sensation when smoked. In the US, half of all young smokers smoke menthol. Initiation with menthol cigarettes is more likely to lead to regular smoking and young menthol smokers may be more likely to report signs of nicotine dependency. Recent New Zealand (NZ) research found no association between menthol preference and autonomy over tobacco use among young people. Nevertheless, menthol cigarettes may pose increased barriers to successful cessation, and this may be an especially important issue for young people, who already have reduced rates of success in smoking cessation.
Data from the 2004 Youth Lifestyle Study and the 2006 and 2008 Youth In-depth Survey of Year 10 students from NZ secondary schools were used to explore preferences for menthol smoking and to examine associations with dependence, cessation and enjoyment of smoking.
Citation: Marsh, L., McGee, R., & Gray, A. (2012). A refreshing poison: one-quarter of young New Zealand smokers choose menthol. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(5), 495-496. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00926.x