IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Potential Health Effects of Menthol: A White Paper


  • Salgado, Maria Victoria MD


The objective of this paper is to assess tobacco industry views and research on potential health effects of menthol and menthol cigarettes. A search was conducted among the documents included in the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. An initial set of words was used, followed by snowball design search. Relevant documents addressed the following subject areas: (1) pharmacology of menthol; (2) menthol’s effect on nicotine metabolism; (3) short and long-term effects of menthol and menthol cigarette use, including carcinogenesis; (4) role of menthol on disease risk; and (5) menthol’s effects on biomarkers of smoking exposure. It is important to underscore that, regarding the health effects of menthol, most of the information tobacco companies used and based their decisions on came from the biomedical literature and not from studies carried out by the companies themselves, who seem to have conducted very little in-house research on the subject. Although menthol pharmacology is well documented, the effect of menthol on levels of biomarkers of smoke exposure is less well examined; however, results collected in the present white paper suggest that menthol does not seem to modify them. In addition, menthol itself appears to be non-carcinogenic, though no documents related to in-house studies analyzing its role in absorption of other carcinogens were found. Reported short-term effects were rare. The tobacco industry documents did not discuss long term long term studies on menthol’s health effects, making it difficult to assess any link to disease risk. We conclude that the tobacco industry works under the assumption that menthol is an innocuous and widely use additive without adverse effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Salgado, Maria Victoria MD, 2010. "Potential Health Effects of Menthol: A White Paper," University of California at San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education qt95m417v2, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UC San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ctcres:qt95m417v2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Medicine and Health Sciences;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:ctcres:qt95m417v2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.