Psychopharmacology

, Volume 143, Issue 3, pp 273–279

Little evidence that “denicotinized” menthol cigarettes have pharmacological effects: an EEG/heart-rate/subjective-response study

  • W. S. Pritchard
  • Michael E. Houlihan
  • Thomas D. Guy
  • John H. Robinson
ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION

DOI: 10.1007/s002130050947

Cite this article as:
Pritchard, W., Houlihan, M., Guy, T. et al. Psychopharmacology (1999) 143: 273. doi:10.1007/s002130050947

Abstract

Rationale: A substantial portion of cigarette smokers prefer menthol-flavored cigarettes. To date, however, no studies have examined whether menthol in cigarettes has central pharmacological effects. Objective: We investigated psychophysiological and subjective effects of smoking menthol versus non-menthol cigarettes in both menthol and non-menthol smokers. To assess these effects independently of the immediate effects of nicotine, all cigarettes employed were “denicotinized” (FTC nicotine yield = 0.06 mg). Methods: The psychophysiological measures were EEG and heart rate (HR). The subjective measures assessed mental alertness, muscular relaxation, anxiety/nervousness, and how much a participant wanted to smoke one of his usual brand of cigarettes. Menthol and non-menthol smokers participated in a single session in which each participant smoked both a menthol and a non-menthol denicotinized cigarette (order balanced across participants). The psychophysiological and subjective measures were recorded before and after smoking each cigarette. Results: Out of 48 F-ratios spanning 22 analyses of variance involving the critical interaction between pre-/post-smoking and menthol/non-menthol cigarette, only one unambiguously fit a “pharmacological” pattern, a result indistinguishable from a type-I statistical error. We report evidence that menthol smokers may be chronically less aroused and more sensitive to the effects of nicotine than non-menthol smokers. Conclusions: We found little evidence that menthol in cigarettes has central pharmacological effects.

Key words Smoking Menthol EEG Heart rate Subjective effect Carbon monoxide 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. S. Pritchard
    • 1
  • Michael E. Houlihan
    • 2
  • Thomas D. Guy
    • 1
  • John H. Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychophysiology Laboratory, Bowman Gray Technical Center 611–12, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Winston-Salem, NC 27102, USA e-mail: pritchw@rjrt.comUS
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, USAUS
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA 31207, USAUS