Atlantico: According to a study , menthol cigarettes increase tobacco dependence and difficulty quitting. How is it that these cigarettes cause these effects while the composition appears identical to that of traditional cigarettes?
Jean-François Etter: With the minty taste, inhaling the smoke takes a certain smoothness. So, with mint , inhalations may be stronger and more frequent, because the sensory side is nicer. And if you inhale more mechanically inhale more nicotine.
The absorption of nicotine through the mouth , throat , bronchi and also in the pulmonary alveoli . Nicotine which is deposited in the mouth or throat will pass into the venous blood and is therefore relatively slowly reach the brain . Unlike nicotine that descends deep into the lungs and is deposited in the alveoli , the latter passes through the arterial blood and suddenly reaches the brain faster. Once in the brain it will have an impact on the pleasure of smoking and the addictive nature.
Because the brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine which gives the sensation of pleasure and relief from smoking. More nicotine passes rapidly into the blood, the more it will be addictive . It is the same for all drugs : crack, heroin , etc.
These cigarettes by their appearance and taste appeal to many young people. They represent a greater threat to public health?
Menthol cigarettes are a small market share in Europe. This situation is different in the United States , as in African- American populations these cigarettes are very popular. This is why the FDA is so interested in this issue. It seems that there is even a little mint in traditional cigarettes.