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Mayo Clinic Minute: Why are menthol-flavored cigarettes a concern?

Whether or not to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes is up for public remark via Tuesday, Aug. 2. The Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed banning menthol flavoring in cigarettes earlier this 12 months, stating the additive makes menthol cigarettes simpler to make use of, significantly amongst youth and younger adults.

Of the greater than 18.5 million menthol cigarette people who smoke ages 12 and older within the U.S., the FDA says it expects the general public well being good thing about a ban on menthol to be best amongst younger adults and Black people who smoke. African Individuals are probably to smoke menthol cigarettes and expertise disproportionate tobacco-related well being disparities.

Dr. J. Taylor Hays, director of Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Heart, explains what makes menthol-flavored cigarettes a priority.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is within the downloads on the finish of the publish. Please courtesy: “Mayo Clinic Information Community.” Learn the script.

Almost 100 years in the past, the primary mentholated cigarette was created. It was then marketed as a “throat cigarette.”

“Menthol primarily acts as a light native anesthetic,” says Dr. Hays.

Menthol cigarettes would possibly add taste, however that is not the purpose. Dr. Hays says the numbing impact makes the smoke much less harsh, “so they do not get as a lot coughing, as a lot irritation within the throat and chest.”

Whereas little knowledge recommend that the menthol itself is addictive, Dr. Hays says that when the menthol is used to cut back the irritant impact, folks get extra nicotine publicity. This allows them to smoke extra, inhale extra deeply and maintain the smoke longer.

Quitting menthol cigarettes would possibly look like an impediment.

“If menthol will increase the publicity to a really addictive substance — nicotine — then these individuals who use menthol cigarettes could also be extra addicted, extra dependent,” he says.

However Dr. Hays says elevated dependency shouldn’t discourage anybody. Assist is offered.

“They might be extra dependent, however the approaches that we take to remedy work, no matter the kind of tobacco you are utilizing.”

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For the protection of its sufferers, employees and guests, Mayo Clinic has strict masking insurance policies in place. Anybody proven with out a masks was recorded previous to COVID-19 or recorded in an space not designated for affected person care, the place social distancing and different security protocols have been adopted.

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