A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that tobacco companies are entrapping young smokers by manipulating the level of menthol in cigarettes. Retracting data from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the HSPH, analysed market research reports, conducted tests on US brands to measure the menthol content and also reviewed the documents of tobacco industries internally to apprehend menthol development.
Howard Koh, professor and associate dean for public health practice at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and co-author of the study remarked, “The tobacco industry has carefully manipulated menthol content not only to lure youth but also to lock in lifelong adult customers.”
He further added “Menthol cigarette brands have been rising in popularity with adolescents, and the highest use has been among younger, newer smokers. Menthol masks the harshness and irritation of cigarettes, allowing delivery of an effective dose of nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes.”
A consistent and deliberate research was carried out by tobacco companies so that they could lure a specific group of smokers to increase their brand sales. The introduction of milder menthol products thus invocated nascent smokers to get hooked to cigarettes. Exempling this marketing strategy, Marlboro increased the menthol content in Marlboro Menthol which is preferred by older smokers and at the same time appeased young smokers by lowering the menthol concentration with the introduction of Milds in 2000.
This potential variation of menthol in cigarettes by tobacco companies is enabling them expand their market among an explicit bunch of smokers.