U.S. study: Companies use menthol to seduce young smokers

2008-07-17 03:10:27 GMT       2008-07-17 11:10:27 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Tobacco companies manipulate the amount of menthol in cigarettes to make those first few puffs more palatable to young smokers, according to a U.S. researchers's finding as quoted by media Thursday.

And such a finding could fuel support for more tobacco regulation in the United States.

"Menthol stimulates the cooling receptors in the lung and oral pharynx," said Dr. Gregory Connolly of the Harvard Schoolof Public Health, whose study appears in the American Journalof Public Health. "It makes smoking easier."

The study comes as the U.S. Congress considers legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration broad authority to regulate tobacco.

Representatives of R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris tobacco brands disputed the findings.

"It would appear this report is simply an effort to push support for federal regulation of the tobacco industry, not a scientific review of the menthol category," said David Howard,a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds, a unit of Reynolds American Inc, maker of Camel and Kool cigarettes.

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people each year.

(Agencies)

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