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Menthol's potential effects on nicotine dependence: a tobacco industry perspective

Valerie B Yerger
Tobacco Control
Vol. 20, Supplement 2: Menthol Cigarettes (May 2011), pp. ii29-ii36
Published by: BMJ
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41320134
Page Count: 8
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Abstract

Objective To examine what the tobacco industry knows about the potential effects menthol may have on nicotine dependence. Methods A snowball strategy was used to systematically search the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/) between 22 February and 29 April, 2010. Of the approximately 11 million documents available in the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, the iterative searches returned tens of thousands of results. We qualitatively analysed a final collection of 309 documents relevant the effects of menthol on nicotine dependence. Results The tobacco industry knows that menthol overrides the harsh taste of tobacco and alleviates nicotine's irritating effects, synergistically interacts with nicotine, stimulates the trigeminal nerve to elicit a 'liking' response for a tobacco product, and makes low tar, low nicotine tobacco products more acceptable to smokers than non-mentholated low delivery products. Conclusion Menthol is not only used in cigarettes as a flavour additive; tobacco companies know that menthol also has sensory effects and interacts with nicotine to produce tobacco products that are easier to smoke, thereby making it easier to expose smokers, especially those who are new and uninitiated, to the addictive power of nicotine.

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