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Menthol Cigarettes Boost Teen Smoking Rates

Update Date: Jun 20, 2014 11:43 PM EDT

Menthol cigarettes may increase smoking among teens, new research reveals.

New research from the University of Waterloo revealed that teens who use menthol cigarettes smoke more cigarettes a day than their peers who smoke non-menthols.

"The appeal of menthol cigarettes among youth stems from the perception that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes. The minty taste helps mask the noxious properties, but the reality is that they are just as dangerous as any unflavored cigarette," lead researcher Sunday Azagba, a scientist at Propel, said in a news release.

The latest study revealed that people who smoked menthol cigarettes smoked an average of 43 cigarettes a week, which is almost double the 26 smoked by non-menthol users.

The findings also revealed that people who smoked menthol cigarettes were nearly three times more likely to report that they want to keep smoking in the next year.

"There is a growing concern that the high popularity of menthol cigarettes among youth may hinder the recent progress in preventing other young people from smoking because many of them may experiment with menthol rather than unflavored brands," said Azagba. 

"Our findings indicate that youth smoking of menthol cigarettes is a serious concern," said Azagba. "It's clear moving forward that we need new laws to ban all added flavors in all tobacco products."

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