When menthol is added to commercial cigarettes as a characterizing flavor, the result is a minty flavor that cools the throat and masks the harshness of tobacco. Mentholated tobacco can be more addictive than non-mentholated tobacco, making mentholated products harder to quit. Menthol flavoring is added to cigarettes, as well as other commercial tobacco products like e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, smokeless tobacco, nicotine pouches, and heated tobacco products. Additional flavors added to commercial tobacco products currently on the market include fruit, candy, desserts, alcoholic beverages, herbs, and spices (vanilla, licorice, clove, cinnamon, and others).
- Flavored tobacco products are popular with youth - 80% of youth who have ever used tobacco started with a flavored product.
- Flavored tobacco products are enticing to young people who do not currently use tobacco products.
- Youth and young adults who use flavored products are more likely to use non-flavored commercial tobacco products in the future.
- Marketing for mentholated tobacco products is more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods and in neighborhoods with more Black and/or African American residents. The same is true for little cigars/cigarillos, which come in a variety of flavors.