Harvard Researchers Say Menthol is Used to Attract Young Smokers

July 17, 2008

Harvard researchers say tobacco companies deliberately change the menthol levels in cigarettes, depending upon whom they are marketing.

In a study released on Wednesday, researchers at the Harvard School
of Public Health say lower menthol levels are aimed at young
smokers who preferred milder, lighter brands, while higher levels are
targeted at adults to lock them in as lifetime smokers.

Philip Morris USA spokesman William Phelps disagrees. He says the study's conclusions aren't supported by the facts cited. He says the study includes excerpts from several marketing documents, none of which talked about targeting youth or or adolescents.

Some smoking control advocates want Congress to ban menthol.

Phelps says Philip Morris USA doesn't believe it's right to ban a particular ingredient. The cigarette giant argues that some people prefer the flavor the Menthol ingredient provides.

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