Menthol cigarettes are no more, and perhaps less, harmful than regular cigarettes, concluded study author William J. Blot, of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn., and the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues.
The study authors agreed with Horovitz, however, that there is no safe cigarette.
"Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of premature death in the United States, but 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," Blot's team noted.
After looking over its advisory panel's report, the FDA will consider whether to ban or regulate menthol cigarettes. According to officials, the first response to the report is due from the agency within three months.
Smokefree.gov has more about menthol cigarettes.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, March 23, 2011
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