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What are Menthol Cigarettes?

Deanna Baranyi
Updated May 23, 2024
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Cigarettes that are flavored with menthol are called menthol cigarettes. Menthol originates from mint plants and makes the mouth and lips feel cool and fresh, even when smoking. In some brands, the tip is infused with menthol and in other brands, the tobacco is laced with menthol. About 27% of the cigarettes purchased in the United States are menthol flavored, according to a Federal Trade Commission Report. This number has risen over the years, even though smoking has declined.

Menthol cigarettes have been in the United States for quite some time. In fact, the first ones were created in 1924 by Spud Brand; however, they were not heavily marketed until 1927 under the catch phrase, “Menthol Cooled.” Since the 1920s, numerous companies have sold menthol brands of cigarettes: Kool&reg, Salem&reg, Newport&reg, Marlboro Menthol&reg, and Camel Menthol&reg are the top sellers.

The cigarette companies are always looking for new ways to get people to try their products. For example, in August 2008, Camel&reg came out with a new kind of menthol cigarette — Camel Menthol Crush&reg. The concept is that smokers can have a regular cigarette or they can crush a blue ball filled with menthol and convert that add menthol to the cigarette in an instant.

There is always controversy surrounding cigarettes, and menthol cigarettes are not exempt. People who advocate for tougher laws on smoking and cigarettes are pushing for a ban on menthol as a flavoring. However, cigarette companies say the menthol flavoring is simply a matter of preference for the smoker.

In addition, it is debated whether the cigarette companies targeted “new smokers” by modifying the amount in menthol in the cigarettes. This has lead to a debate about whether the companies were targeting adolescents as the “new smokers”. If it were true, it may be against the Master Settlement Agreement which protects youths from being marketed, whether directly or indirectly.

There are also rumors about menthol cigarettes. For example, it is rumored that they contain fiberglass which cause the smokers mouth, throat, and lungs to have miniature cuts throughout, thereby giving the cool sensation. This has been proven false. Although smoking is hazardous to anyone’s health, fiberglass is not used in menthol cigarettes. Any cool sensation is the result of the menthol itself.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.
Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Jan 20, 2013

The Camel Menthol Crush sounds really cool. Has anyone tried it?

So far, I've tried Davidoff, Winston, Dunhill, Seneca and Parliament menthol cigarettes. Winston and Parliament were good but I'm still looking for one that will be my favorite.

By burcidi — On Jan 20, 2013

@strawCake-- I've heard some smokers say that menthol cigarettes are for wusses. They don't believe that this is true cigarette smoking because the flavor is so different from regular tobacco. I don't think that's the right attitude though. I smoke too but I don't prefer menthol cigarettes simply because I don't like the taste. I don't think I'm in any way better than menthol cigarette smokers.

It's just a question of preference. People should stick with what they enjoy even if they're in the minority.

By candyquilt — On Jan 19, 2013

@anon61596-- Cigarettes in general are harmful for health, as well as sexual health. So menthol cigarettes vs regular cigarettes, they're both equally harmful.

Cigarette smoking has a negative affect on blood circulation which is necessary for sexual health, particularly for males. Smokers might experience a decrease in libido as well. Of course, cigarettes are also very terrible for lung, stomach and mouth health.

If you're asking about the dangers of the menthol in menthol cigarettes specifically, that I'm not sure about.

By SZapper — On May 03, 2012

Wow, I'm kind of surprised that fiberglass thing isn't true. Cigarettes have all kinds of really gross stuff in them, so fiberglass isn't actually that far fetched. Still, even if they don't contain fiberglass, discount menthol cigarettes aren't exactly good for you.

That being said, I'm also surprised they've been around since the 1920's! For some reason I thought they were a more recent thing. But I guess cigarette companies are still trying to perfect them to this day. The cigarette mentioned in the article that can either be a menthol cigarette or not kind of boggles my mind!

By Monika — On May 03, 2012

@strawCake - I have definitely heard people argue over menthol cigarettes also. It's funny that some people think that new smokers might buy menthol cigarettes, because it's been my experience that most new smokers don't want to smoke menthols!

In fact, menthol seems to be an acquired taste for a lot of people. So I don't see how menthol could be a gateway cigarette for new smokers.

I don't smoke, but I'm actually a big fan of menthol cough drops. Whenever I get sick there is this one brand that I love that has a ton of menthol in it. So I guess if I were a smoker I would probably go for menthol cigarettes.

By strawCake — On May 02, 2012

I don't smoke, but among my friend who buy cigarettes, menthol is a hotly debated issues. Some people love menthols and won't smoke anything else. Others absolutely hate it, and wouldn't smoke a menthol cigarette even if someone offered them a free lifetime supply of them.

I personally think both kinds are disgusting. Despite the "cooling sensation" menthol cigarettes are still just as bad for you as the regular kind. I guess to some people they just taste better though.

By anon64273 — On Feb 06, 2010

Menthol is so set in the smoking culture it couldn't have been banned.

By anon61596 — On Jan 21, 2010

are menthol cigarettes harmful to the body or are they harmful, sexually?

By anon47146 — On Oct 02, 2009

i want to try your cigarettes but i only want menthol. i smoke kools.

Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
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