Sensory and physiologic effects of menthol and non-menthol cigarettes with differing nicotine delivery

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002 Jan-Feb;71(1-2):55-61. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(01)00623-2.


Many smokers choose menthol-flavored cigarettes, however, the influence of menthol on the effects of smoke-delivered nicotine is unknown. Research and commercial cigarettes, menthol and non-menthol, that delivered a wide range of nicotine were evaluated. Menthol (n=18) and non-menthol (n=18) cigarette smokers participated in a single session during which three cigarettes were smoked 45 min apart, in random order. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) nicotine yields of the three cigarettes were: research, low yield, 0.2 mg, commercial cigarettes (average), 1.2 mg; research, high yield, 2.5 mg. Commercial and high-yield cigarettes increased heart rate (HR) and blood pressure more than low-yield cigarettes; although, no differences in exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) occurred. Participants smoked commercial cigarettes faster and with fewer puffs than either of the research cigarette indicating production differences can affect topography. There was a significant group by cigarette interaction on satisfaction, and relief from cigarette craving. High-yield non-menthol cigarettes reduced craving and were rated as more satisfying than high-yield menthol cigarettes. No differences between menthol and non-menthol cigarettes on other subjective measures (strength, psychological reward, negative effects) were observed. Our findings indicate that nicotine delivery, but not mentholation, influences cardiovascular and most subjective measures. These results illustrate the importance of threshold levels of nicotine on subjective responses to cigarette smoking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Drug Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menthol / pharmacology*
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sense Organs / drug effects*
  • Sense Organs / physiology
  • Smoking* / psychology
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Menthol
  • Nicotine