Menthol Cigarettes Double Stroke Risk [Study]

James Johnson - Author

Nov. 20 2013, Updated 5:48 a.m. ET

Menthol cigarette smokers could be at twice the risk of having a stroke according to a new study published in the April 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. While the study highlights the effects of menthol cigarettes experts point out that stroke risks are also high in non-menthol smokers.

Researchers also discovered that the risk of strokes are three times higher for women and non-blacks.

According to researcher Dr. Nicholas Vozoris of St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto, Ontario):

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“One potential mechanism is that menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors, which can increase breath-holding time, which may in turn facilitate the entrance of cigarette particulate matter into the lungs … Why smoking mentholated cigarettes would not result in an increase in forms of cardiopulmonary disease, other than stroke, is not clear.”

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Researchers were hoping to find a link between menthol cigarettes and an increase in hypertension, heart attacks or lung disease but the only increase discovered was directly related to strokes.

While a link seems to exist experts warn that more research must be conducted in order to establish a clear cause and effect relationship between menthol cigarettes and stroke.

The study is highlighted with other smoking dangers by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which keeps an active page of smoking harms, at this time the menthol link is not included since research regarding menthol related strokes can not yet be confirmed.

Given that menthol cigarettes add yet another additive to cigarettes are you all that surprised by the stroke association.


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