The effect of menthol containing cigarettes on adult smokers' exposure to nicotine and carbon monoxide

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;57(1):24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2009.12.003. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


There is limited information comparing biomarkers of exposure (BOE) to cigarette smoke in menthol (MS) and non-menthol cigarette smokers (NMS).

Objective: To compare BOE to nicotine and carbon monoxide in MS and NMS.

Methods: Cross-sectional, observational, ambulatory, multi-centre study in 3341 adult cigarette smokers. Nicotine equivalents (NE) in 24h urine, NE/cigarette, COHb and serum cotinine were measured. Statistical analyses included analysis of variance and Wilcoxon test.

Results: Analyses of variance revealed no statistically significant effects of mentholated cigarettes on NE/24h, COHb, serum cotinine and NE/cigarette. On average MS smoked 15.0 and NMS 16.8 cigarettes/day. The unadjusted mean differences were as follows: MS had lower NE/24h (5.4%) and COHb (3.2%), higher serum cotinine (3.0%) and NE/cigarette (5.7%) than NMS. African-Americans MS smoked 40% fewer cigarettes, showed lower NE/24h (24%) and COHb (10%) and higher NE/cig (29%) and serum cotinine (8%) levels than their White counterparts.

Conclusions: Smoking mentholated cigarettes does not increase daily exposure to smoke constituents as measured by NE and COHb. These findings are consistent with the majority of epidemiological studies indicating no difference in smoking related risks between MS and NMS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Black People
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis
  • Cotinine / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menthol / adverse effects
  • Menthol / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Nicotine / urine
  • Smoking* / adverse effects
  • Smoking* / blood
  • Smoking* / urine
  • Tobacco / chemistry*
  • White People
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Menthol
  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carboxyhemoglobin
  • Cotinine