Sensory and physiologic effects of menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes with differing nicotine delivery

Wallace B. Pickworth, Eric T. Moolchan, Ivan Berlin, Ram Murty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Many smokers choose menthol-flavored cigarettes, however, the influence of menthol on the effects of smoke-delivered nicotine is unknown. Research and commercial cigarettes, menthol and nonmenthol, that delivered a wide range of nicotine were evaluated. Menthol (n=18) and nonmenthol (n=18) cigarette smokers participated in a single session during which three cigarettes were smoked 45 min apart, in random order. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) nicotine yields of the three cigarettes were: research, low yield, 0.2 mg, commercial cigarettes (average), 1.2 mg; research, high yield, 2.5 mg. Commercial and high-yield cigarettes increased heart rate (HR) and blood pressure more than low-yield cigarettes; although, no differences in exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) occurred. Participants smoked commercial cigarettes faster and with fewer puffs than either of the research cigarette indicating production differences can affect topography. There was a significant group by cigarette interaction on satisfaction, and relief from cigarette craving. High-yield nonmenthol cigarettes reduced craving and were rated as more satisfying than high-yield menthol cigarettes. No differences between menthol and nonmenthol cigarettes on other subjective measures (strength, psychological reward, negative effects) were observed. Our findings indicate that nicotine delivery, but not mentholation, influences cardiovascular and most subjective measures. These results illustrate the importance of threshold levels of nicotine on subjective responses to cigarette smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • Denicotinized
  • Menthol
  • Placebo cigarettes
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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