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Menthol-Flavored Tobacco Products

Get a Fresh Take on Menthol

Tobacco products with menthol, a minty-fresh flavoring, have been around for a while. The cooling effects of menthol reduces the harshness of smoke and the irritation of nicotine.1 But menthol flavored tobacco products are as harmful, and in some ways more harmful, than non-menthol products.

Don’t Hide from the Truth About Menthol

One of the ways tobacco products with menthol can be more harmful is because the minty taste and smell masks the early warning symptoms of breathing problems by reducing pain and soothing coughing.1 Because menthol can hide the harsh taste of tobacco products, people who use these products tend to smoke more.2 This makes it harder to quit and causes more negative health effects than people who use non-flavored products.2

In addition, more people who use menthol-flavored tobacco products reported anxiety and depression than non-menthol tobacco products.3

Unfair and Unjust Targeting

Tobacco companies target their marketing for menthol tobacco products to certain groups—including Black residents, the LGBTQ+ community and youth—making these tobacco products seem less harsh and more appealing to new users.4 These ways to target are unfair and unjust to minority communities, and increase the usage of menthol tobacco products among these groups.3

Youth and Young Adults

Tobacco companies use menthol to attract young people to tobacco products and get them addicted faster. Young people who start smoking menthol cigarettes are more likely to become addicted and use these products daily and long-term.2 But it’s not just cigarettes—any nicotine products with menthol flavoring including e-cigarettes, pouches and lozenges could play a role in addicting a new generation to nicotine.3

Black Communities

Since the 1950s, the tobacco industry has targeted their marketing for menthol cigarettes to Black communities. We know that their efforts worked because in 2018, 85% of Black residents aged 12 and older who smoke preferred menthol cigarettes.3 In addition, menthol cigarettes have harmed Black residents more than others—a recent study found that menthol cigarettes were responsible for 157,000 smoking-related premature deaths and 1.5 million life years lost among Black Americans from 1980-2018.1

LGBTQ+ Community

The tobacco industry has also heavily marketed their products, including menthol flavors, to the LGBTQ+ community using advertising that includes rainbows and messaging around “taking pride in your flavor.” 5 And compared to straight people, more lesbian and gay people use menthol cigarettes.3


The bottom line is that menthol is a minty fresh way to hide the truth about tobacco—it’s not safe in any form for anyone. If you’re ready to quit for good, we’re here to help.

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1. American Lung Association, What Is Menthol?, 2023.

2. MD Anderson Cancer Center, Menthol cigarettes: The FDA’s proposed ban and why they’re more harmful, 2022.–the-food-and-drug-administration-fda-ban-and-why-they-are-more-harmful.h00-159460056.html

3. Truth Initiative, Menthol: Facts, stats and regulations, 2022.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Menthol Tobacco Products, 2023.

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Unfair and Unjust Practices Harm LGBTQ+ People and Drive Health Disparities, 2023.

6. Mendez, Le, Consequences of a match made in hell: the harm caused by menthol smoking to the African American population over 1980-2018, 2021.