Minty fresh is a good thing when it comes to toothpaste, but not cigarettes. Mistakenly believing that they’re less harmful, teens are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than regular cigarettes, according to a new study.
Menthol is a substance found in mint plants that provides a cooling sensation. Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that menthol cigarettes are linked with an elevated nicotine addiction among Canada’s youth. Users smoked twice as many menthol cigarettes per week, compared to regular cigarettes.
The minty flavor tricks teens into thinking these cigarettes are safer. Scientist and lead researcher Sunday Azagba explained, “The minty taste helps mask the noxious properties, but the reality is that they are just as dangerous as any unflavoured cigarette.”
According to smokefree.gov, there is no evidence that menthol cigarettes are less dangerous. In fact, they harm every organ in the body and can cause the same diseases as regular cigarettes, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory dease.
Azagba also said, “There is a growing concern that the high popularity of menthol cigarettes among youth may hinder the recent progress in preventing other young people from smoking because many of them may experiment with menthol rather than unflavoured brands.”
The misconception that menthol is safer is similar to the growing problem with e-cigarettes. In both cases, there’s no evidence that e-cigs or menthol cigarettes are actually safe. Both contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.
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