Menthol has been used as a cigarette flavoring agent for almost 90 years, until recentlywithout any concerns over the biological effects of mentholation. Two recent reviewshave examined in considerable detail the toxicological sequelae of mentholation, byassessing analytical smoke chemistry, smoking behavior, biomarkers of exposure,airway patency, absorption of nicotine, metabolism of other smoke components,initiation, dependency and cessation, risk of lung cancer, lung cancer in AfricanAmericans, and risk of other diseases. The conclusions of the two reviews (and of otherrecent papers) are identical, suggesting imponderable and therefore inconsequentialdifferences between the effects of smoking mentholated or non-mentholated cigarettes.At the same time, the use of menthol in cigarettes has been criticized on politicalgrounds, largely based on such non-scientific issues as “
”, and “
mental health issues
”, to support contentions that the FDA banmentholated cigarettes under its new regulatory powers. Yet, whatever the dialecticalvalue of these non-scientific issues, the factually defensible message emerging from thescientific reports is very clear: “
Any toxicological effects of cigarette mentholation on smokers are beyond detection and are probably immaterial.