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Menthol Seems to Reinforce Nicotine Addiction, Researchers Say

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Smokers of menthol cigarettes have more trouble quitting than smokers of unflavored cigarettes, according to a new study which concludes that the effects produced by menthol tend to reinforce nicotine addiction. 

NPR reported Jan. 25 that researcher Jonathan Foulds of the Tobacco Dependency Program at the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey's School of Public Health noted that menthol — a cooling agent — allows smokers to inhale smoke more deeply and ingest more nicotine. “It helps the poison go down smoother,” said Foulds.

A study by Kolawole Okuyemi of the University of Minnesota found that menthol smokers inhale more carbon monoxide, as well. “There is something about menthol that makes it easier to smoke more intensely,” he said.

However, another study by Andrew Hyland of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute did not find a link between having difficulty quitting and menthol use, although he did find that low-income and less-educated people had more trouble quitting.

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