Thursday, March 24, 2011

Menthol cigs are NOT more toxic than regular cigs

By Julie Steenhuysen

updated 3/23/2011 4:30:06 PM ET

CHICAGO— People who smoke menthol
cigarettes are no more likely to develop lung
cancer than those who smoke non-menthol
varieties, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday
in a surprise finding that could affect U.S.
regulators' efforts to ban menthol-flavored

Scientists had assumed that adding menthol to
cigarettes would expose people to more toxins
and increase their cancer risk, but a large
study of older adults in community health
centers found the opposite.

"The key finding was that the risk of lung
cancer was no higher in menthol smokers.

"In fact, it was a bit lower in mentholated
compared to non-mentholated smokers and
there was no significant difference in the rate
of quitting smoking," said William Blot of the
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville,
Tennessee, whose study appears in the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Blot said the team was surprised to find that
menthol smokers had a lower risk.

"It was about 30 percent lower," which he said
in a telephone interview was "statistically
significantly lower." "The hypothesis going in,
although it wasn't well supported, was that
mentholated might be more toxic."

Blot's team studied people aged 40 to 79
enrolled in a large, 12-state study who get
their care primarily from public health clinics.

They identified 440 lung cancer patients and
compared them with 2,213 people of similar
race, age and sex who did not have lung
cancer. They found there was less lung cancer
and fewer lung cancer deaths among people
who smoked menthol cigarettes compared


Joe Raedle / Getty Images file
Brenda Wisehart smokes a menthol cigarette in front of a Quick Stop store on March 30, 2010 in Miami, Florida. A new study finds that menthol cigarettes are no riskier than regular cigarettes, which could affect regulators' efforts to ban them.

Cancer risk no higher with menthol cigarettes, says study
Scientists had assumed adding menthol to cigarettes would expose smokers to more toxins

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