Menthol cigarettes: are they better than regular? · healthy living articles

Menthol cigarettes are a combination of tobacco and menthol that makes the mouth and nose feel cool without a drop in popular in the warmer US climates, menthol cigarettes are disproportionately popular with African Americans. The History of Menthol Cigarettes

Tobacco companies first started adding menthol to cigarettes in the 1920’s. In 1924 the Axton Fisher Tobacco Company came out with Spud Menthol Cooled Cigarettes, or «Spuds,» and three years later Brown & Williamson came out with the much more popular brand, Kool.

Over the years other brands of American menthol cigarettes came out, including American Spirits Menthol, Camel Menthol, Marlboro Menthol, Misty, and the bestselling brand of menthol smokes in the USA, Newport. British brands of menthol cigarettes include JPS, Lambert & Butler, Richmond, and Sterling.

About 1 in 3 cigarettes smoked in the USA is a flavored with menthol. Over 80 per cent of African American smokers exclusively smoke menthol flavored cigarettes. Menthol flavored cigarettes are specifically exempted from the government regulations applied to other tobacco additives that became law in 2009 when President Obama, a smoker, signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Are Menthol Cigarettes Safer than Regular Cigarettes?

Tens of millions of smokers around the world will tell you that they prefer the taste and feel of menthol cigarettes. But are they better or worse for the smoker’s health? As is so often the case in medical research, there is good news, and there is bad news.

Researchers long worried that the menthol in menthol cigarettes would increase the rate at which chemicals added to tobacco pass through the lining of the mouth and throat and into the bloodstream. Menthol makes these membranes much more permeable to all kinds of water soluble chemicals.

Taking a drag on a menthol cigarette feels good, so smokers of menthol brands hold tobacco smoke in longer. And menthol, when burned, creates the known carcinogen benzo a pyrene.

The good news is that despite all these additional risk factors, menthol cigarettes do not appear to be more harmful to health than regular smokes. Smoking menthol cigarettes does not result in more cancer, heart disease, or emphysema.

The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) project, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed smokers of menthol cigarettes and regular cigarettes for 15 years. Both African Americans and Americans of European descent were included in the study.

The CARDIA study found that smokers of menthol cigarettes were no more likely to develop emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) over the 15 years of the study than smokers of ordinary cigarettes. They were no more likely to have coronary artery disease, and they were no more likely to have cancer. The results of the study were skewed by the fact that the study participants, recruited in 1985, were then 18 to 30 years old, too young to have suffered major, lasting damage to health from their smoking habit. However, even in this study, 14 per cent of smokers already had coronary artery damage by age 33 to 45.

Menthol Cigarettes Especially Addictive

The worse news is that while 46 per cent of smokers of regular cigarettes were able to quit smoking over the 15 years of the study, only 31 per cent of menthol smokers were able to quit. This was not because menthol somehow made quitting harder. Instead, the study found that menthol cigarette smokers simply did not try to quit, especially if they were African American.

The reason most menthol smokers do not try to quit may have to do with the fact that menthol cigarettes are highly addictive. The menthol in the cigarette keeps the body from activating nicotine. The menthol smokers has to smoke more cigarettes, and hold the smoke in the lungs longer, to get the same amount of active nicotine into his or her bloodstream.

Menthol smokers tend to have their first cigarette of the day earlier in the morning, to take more puffs from each cigarette, and to burn the cigarette down to the butt. It’s simply hard to quit if you smoke menthols.

Are Menthol Cigarettes «Cleaner»?

Some brands of menthol cigarettes like the Salem Pianissimo are marketed at people who tend to think of smoking as a «dirty habit.» The Salem Pianissimo, the «softer cigarette,» has been especially popular in Japan. The maker of the Salem Pianissimo, R. J. Reynolds, also markets «clean» cigarettes in the US and Europe under brand names such as Eclipse, Salem Preferred, and Vantage. Designed for women smokers, these brands claim to cover up smells and to have just 1 mg of tar in each cigarette, due to their «clean» formulation.

The claim that these cigarettes are exceptionally low tar, however, is just plain false. When R. J. Reynolds began to capture a large part of the Japanese cigarette market by advertising its menthol cigarettes as having just 1 mg of tar, competitor Phillips Morris had the cigarettes tested. The «low tar» cigarettes actually had the same amount of tar as other brands, about 2 mg of tar in each. When confronted with these findings, R. J. Reynolds launched a new ad campaign, «Realized 1 mg tar with refreshing high menthol.»

Read More Exposing Ten Little Known Facts About E Cigarettes

If You Want to Quit, Switch… or Quit

The moral of the stories about menthol cigarettes seems to be that if you are concerned that smoking is bad for your health and you want to quit, it may be better first to switch to a non menthol brand. The net effect of switching to cigarettes without menthol be roughly equivalent to wearing a nicotine patch, because the absence of menthol will make the nicotine you get from your cigarettes much more available to your central nervous system.

You will feel the need to light up later in the day, and you won’t need to suck every last bit of smoke out of each every cigarette. Quitting menthols for non menthol brands is not a guarantee of success for smoking cessation, but it is a great way to start.

Henley cigs review

by Aaron Glassman

We like to call Henley Cigs one of our «hidden gems» in the e cig industry. You won’t see them popping up on e cigarette review sites as much as you do some of the more popular ecig brands, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a quality product. Henley is a relatively new entrant to the market and, after giving them a try ourselves, we have a feeling that they’ll be around for some time.

We like to dig into the story behind the different brands, and really like what Henley stands for. Like us, the founders of Henley were smokers of traditional cigarettes and wanted to make a healthy change in their life and took up e cigarettes. They liked the new experience, but weren’t completely satisfied with the options out there, so they decided to start their own brand. They spent tons of time in research and development, product trials and testing, and would settle for nothing less than the best. We can honestly say they have a product they can proudly stand behind.

That said, let’s get into our full review of Henley Cigs.

Henley Kits

The grand daddy of the kits at Henley Cigs is their Deluxe Kit. This is one of the most sleek and stylish kits that we’ve gotten our hands on. It sells for $69.95 and comes with the following

  • Personal Charging Case
  • 2 Rechargeable Batteries
  • 5 Flavor Cartridges
  • 2 USB Cords
  • AC Adapter

The highlight of this kit is the personal charging case (PCC). This thing is sleek. It works as a carrying case to store your e cig batteries and cartridges, but also doubles as a mobile charging device. It fits easily in your pocket, about the size of a traditional pack of cigarettes. You’ll never be without fresh batteries.

Now, a lot of brands sell PCC’s. What puts Henley’s over the top is what it does beyond just keeping your batteries charged. It has inputs allowing you to charge your mobile devices (phone, iPod, iPad, etc.) as well it’s basically a portable outlet in your pocket. They put a lot of thought in this device and it definitely shines. Take a look at it below.

Deluxe Kit

Buy a Deluxe Kit here

While the Deluxe Kit is pretty sweet, when talking to the reps at Henley they say what they are really pushing is their Express Kit, so we gave those a try as well. This is a leaner, more convenient kit than the Deluxe and a little lighter on the wallet. With this kit you get the following for $19.95

  • 1 Rechargeable Battery
  • 1 USB Charger
  • 3 Flavor Cartridges (Original or Menthol)

This is a pretty good deal, as buying these items separately will cost you well more than $20. There’s no sacrifice in quality with this lighter kit, it’s the same batteries as you get with the Deluxe. Nice, big pulls of vapor and the cartridges are pretty tasty. If the three cartridges aren’t enough, or you want to try something other than Original or Menthol, you can always pick up cartridges a la carte as well, available in ten different flavors and four nicotine strengths.

Express Kits Original and Menthol

Henley Cartridges

We tried out a bunch of the cartridges at Henley and really like them all. As mentioned in the beginning of this review, the people behind Henley did a lot of R&D and trials before they put their products on the market, and that didn’t just mean the batteries, it includes the cartridge flavors. You can tell they put a lot of time into them until they got them just right. Full, rich flavor and big hits of vapor. The Original flavor is one of the truest tobacco flavors we’ve tried, and the others are great as well. Their ten flavors consist of two Tobacco varieties, Menthol, Cherry, Clove, Watermelon, Vanilla, Cappuccino, Strawberry, and Pina Colada. Some unique ones in there that you won’t see at other brands of electronic cigarettes. All are available in four nicotine strengths.

Click here to start shopping for Henley Cigs

Even better, they have a program they call the Cartridge Club. It reminds us of the Home Delivery Program that we write about in our Ever Smoke electronic cigarette review. With this program you get monthly deliveries of your favorite cartridges, so you don’t have to remember to re order, and you get a discount by enrolling. Sign up for 6 months of deliveries and you get 20% off, 9 months for 30% off, or 12 months for 40% off! If you know you’re going to be fiending on Henley Cigs, and we have a feeling you will, there’s no reason not to sign up for this program.

Final Thoughts on Henley Cigs

You get the picture by now, but we really like this brand. They don’t quite have the market saturation yet as they are relatively new compared to the big players in the industry, so it’s a «hidden gem» of ours for now, but we have a feeling that it won’t be kept secret for too long.

What do we love most about Henley?

  • Sleek design and technology
  • Strong batteries big vapor production
  • Great cartridge variety rich and unique flavors
  • High quality craftsmanship the Personal Charging Case is great
  • Cartridge Club program gotta love getting regular deliveries of cartridges at a discounted price

One way to make a great deal even better a coupon code. The fine folks at Henley Cigs set us up with a discount for our readers. Simply enter the code HENLEY10 at checkout to get 10% off your order! Check them out now by visiting


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