Mentholated Cigarettes Linked to Increased Stroke Risk

Findings particularly pronounced in women and non-African-American smokers

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Mentholated cigarettes are associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke, particularly among women and non-African-American smokers, according to a letter published in the April 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nicholas T. Vozoris, M.H.Sc., M.D., from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, investigated the potential association between mentholated cigarette smoking and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease risk. The mentholation status of cigarettes "usually" smoked for 5,028 current smokers (aged ≥20 years) from the 2001 to 2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys was ascertained.

The author found that 25.6 percent of respondents usually smoked mentholated cigarettes. In an adjusted analysis, mentholated cigarette smokers had significantly elevated odds of stroke compared with non-mentholated cigarette smokers (odds ratio [OR], 2.25). The finding was particularly pronounced in women (OR, 3.28) and non-African-American smokers (OR, 3.48), remaining so after further adjustment for hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. No significant associations were seen for mentholated cigarette smoking and hypertension, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"Although potential causal links cannot be established and further research is required to confirm the findings, the association between mentholated cigarette smoking and stroke is noteworthy, given that the results are based on large population-level data, with data spanning nearly a decade, and given that the relationship is independent of multiple sociodemographic, smoking behavior, and health status confounders," Vozoris concludes.

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