Menthol Cigarettes Double Stroke Risk

Threat worse for women, non-blacks: study
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2012 5:32 PM CDT
Menthol Cigarettes Double Stroke Risk
Menthol cigarettes may pose a greater threat of stroke than non-menthols.   (Shutterstock)

While researchers stress that there's "no 'good' cigarette type," they warn that menthols may be even worse than the rest. Menthol smokers face more than double the risk of stroke faced by non-menthol smokers; among women and non-blacks, it's more than triple the risk, a study suggests. Why? It's possible that "menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors, which can increase breath-holding time," says one researcher, according to USA Today.

That may make it easier for "cigarette particulate matter" to get into the lungs. Menthol cigarettes don't seem to carry a higher risk of heart attack, hypertension, or lung disease, the study finds; researchers aren't sure why. "Smoking any kind of cigarette ... serves to increase one's risk for a variety of cancers, heart diseases and lung diseases," the researcher says. But "smoking mentholated cigarettes may place one at even higher risk for stroke." (More menthol stories.)

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