10 Questions Kids Might Ask Their Parents About Smoking

Are menthol cigarettes less harmful?

There are a lot of rumors circulating about how menthol cigarettes are or aren't different from regular cigarettes. Kids might have heard from friends that menthol cigarettes are less addictive, or that they don't cause cancer as much as regular cigarettes. It's important to separate rumor from fact. Let kids know that menthol cigarettes have all of the same harmful substances as regular, unflavored cigarettes. Adding menthol doesn't really change much about how cigarettes are made. In fact, even most non-flavored cigarettes contain a small amount of menthol [source: National Cancer Institute]. Some anti-smoking advocates claim that menthol is actually more addictive than unflavored cigarettes, since they make it easier to try smoking without the unpleasant taste. On the other hand, there have been studies that suggest menthol cigarettes are no more addictive. The truth is, research into the question of menthol's addictiveness compared to regular cigarettes is still largely undecided [source: Steenhuysen].