Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are mentholated cigarettes safer than nonmentholated ones?

In follow up to FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) report on menthol cigarettes issued last week stating that removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States, an “industry menthol report” was expected to be filed with the FDA by today by TPSAC members representing the tobacco industry.

A summary of the industry report findings including a link to the draft Executive Summary can be found here.

However, a research study from Vanderbilt University published today online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute could be even more effective in influencing the FDA on menthol cigarette regulation than any industry rebuttal.

The Vanderbilt study found in a large cohort of smokers aged 40 years and older that although smoking any type of cigarette substantially increased lung cancer incidence and mortality, use of menthol cigarettes appeared to be associated with lower lung cancer incidence and fewer deaths than nonmentholated cigarettes.

The study concluded that “…undue emphasis on reduction of menthol relative to other cigarettes may distract from the ultimate health prevention message that smoking of any cigarettes is injurious to health.”

The study findings may make it more difficult for the FDA to place an outright ban on menthol cigarettes, although the study did not address what happens in children, adolescents, and young adults exposed to menthol-containing tobacco products, in whom there is concern that menthol cigarettes and other menthol containing tobacco products may be a gateway to earlier smoking initiation.  Clearly, more research is needed on this issue.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

1 comment:

  1. See the interesting post on this issue at Addiction Inbox:


Enter your full name and the current CPDD password above your comment to have your comment reviewed for posting by the moderator. If you do not provide your full name and the current CPDD member password for authentication, your comment will not be reviewed.