Clearing the air about menthol cigarettes

Posted 3/22/24

It’s time to unite our voices to call for a change that could result in saving millions of lives...

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.

Already have an account? Log in to continue. Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

Clearing the air about menthol cigarettes


It’s time to unite our voices to call for a change that could result in saving millions of lives in the generations to come. We can work together to craft a future without dangerous menthol additives in cigarettes, preventing people from starting to smoke and supporting people across our state who are ready to quit.

For generations, Big Tobacco has peddled addiction to our communities, conveniently masking it with additives like artificial menthol. Menthol can be great when added to things like candies or chewing gum, but when smoked in tobacco the combination can prove deadly.

Studies show flavorings like menthol make it easier to start smoking and harder to quit and make the products more appealing to children and young smokers. Menthol in cigarettes also allows the lungs to expand further and allows more of the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals to be absorbed into the body, which can lead to addiction, disease and death.

Did you know more than one-third of all cigarettes sold today in this country are menthol? While adding menthol flavoring to cigarettes goes back 100 years, it has never before made up such a large percentage of the total number of cigarettes sold in our state and across the country. A recent study found menthol cigarettes were responsible for over 10 million new smokers across the country from 1980 to 2018, 3 million life-years lost, and 378,000 premature deaths.

Menthol is directly responsible for slowing the national decline in the smoking rate. Studies show the smoking rate could be reduced by 15% if menthol cigarettes were no longer available, and an estimated 650,000 lives could be saved. Removing menthol from cigarettes would be especially effective in improving the health of Florida’s populations that use these products at higher rates than the general public. With tobacco use being the leading preventable cause of death in Florida, action is already underway locally to make a difference. The Hendry Tobacco Free Partnership educates youth and community groups about the health impacts of menthol tobacco products by participating in community events and health fairs in Hendry County.

Let’s face it – when it comes to menthol, it’s not cool. And now is not a time to sit back and accept it. Support your community by educating yourself about menthol and finding local partnerships to help clear the air for generations to come. If you’re ready to make a difference, find out what The Hendry County Tobacco Free Partnership is doing about menthol and how you can help.

Julieanne Rodriguez is a Hendry County community member and Hendry Tobacco Free Partnership member.

cigarettes, tobacco, menthol