The menthol, a chemical substance that causes a sensation of freshness, by acting on the nerve endings whose function is to perceive the cold, can also stimulate the need to nicotine, according to a study, which has revealed that menthol cigarettes they are more addictive, and consumers of this type of tobacco find it harder to stop smoking.
The fact that menthol is attributed various beneficial properties -antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, to combat halitosis, etc.-, and that various pharmacy and parapharmacy products include it in its composition, has led some people to think, erroneously , that menthol tobacco is less harmful, and even believe that it has certain advantages such as masking the smell of nicotine, or reduce throat irritation.
"Menthol favors the stimulation of areas of the brain responsible for processing the sensation of reward, pleasure and addiction"
Currently there is a controversy about whether menthol tobacco is the same, more, or less harmful than normal, and studies have been carried out for years, with different results. Thus, while there are those who point out that some of its characteristics -such as the sensation of a fresher inhalation and an analgesic effect that softens the effects of smoke-, can encourage young people to start smoking, other studies have found that smokers of menthol tobacco smoked fewer cigarettes a day than consumers of normal tobacco.
The new research, which has been carried out in the United States, and has been published in 'Frontiers in Pharmacology', However, supports the thesis against menthol cigarettes, and concludes that menthol binds to a specific type of nicotinic receptor on nerve cells - the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor a7 - and decreases the response to nicotine. In the long term, in addition, this substance seems to promote the expression of other genes of nicotinic receptors in those areas of the brain responsible for processing the sensation of reward, pleasure and addiction.