Menthol cigarettes and health risks in Lung Health Study data

Nicotine Tob Res. 2007 Jan;9(1):101-7. doi: 10.1080/14622200601078418.


Whether menthol cigarettes confer a higher risk of death than plain cigarettes is not known. The Lung Health Study (LHS) enrolled 5,887 adult smokers in a clinical trial of smoking cessation and ipratropium in the prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. LHS participants have been subjected to surveillance for mortality from all causes for 14 years. We examined these data for differences between self-reported smokers of menthol cigarettes versus plain cigarettes. Using proportional hazards regression methods, we found no differences in hazard ratios for coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, or death from any cause. Contrary to expectations about nicotine dependence, we found that users of menthol cigarettes had smoked fewer pack-years at baseline. We found no difference in success at smoking cessation with or without menthol. We conclude that our data contain no evidence that mentholation of cigarettes increases the hazards of smoking.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Ipratropium / therapeutic use
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Menthol / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco*


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Menthol
  • Ipratropium