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Could Menthol Cigarettes Pose Even Higher Stroke Risk?
Date:4/9/2012

f cigarette is bad for one's health, and serves to increase one's risk for a variety of cancers, heart diseases and lung diseases. However, this study shows that smoking mentholated cigarettes may place one at even higher risk for stroke than smoking regular, non-mentholated cigarettes."

To date, research on menthol cigarettes has been inconclusive. Last year, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said a ban on mentholated cigarettes might benefit the public health because the minty flavor seems to help people take up smoking more readily. However, the panel did not conclude that menthols were more harmful than regular cigarettes in terms of risks for lung cancer or other respiratory ailments.

Shortly after that recommendation was made, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that people who smoke menthol cigarettes might even have a somewhat lower risk of developing and dying from lung cancer than other smokers.

For this new study, the researchers used data from the 2001-2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys on more than 5,000 smokers age 20 and older. About 26 percent said they usually smoked menthols.

The researchers found that stroke risk associated with smoking menthols was 2.25 times higher compared to regular smokers; 3.28 times higher for women, and 3.48 times higher for non-blacks.

However, Vozoris said the new study has several limitations. The researchers didn't account for drug treatment that might have affected the findings, and the smoking habits were self-reported. Also, former smokers weren't included in the data.

Dr. Clinton Wright, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that more study is needed before any conclusions can be drawn about specific health risks associated with specific types of cigarettes. "Very little work has been done on mentholated cigarettes," he said.


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