||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (March 2012)|
Origins and History 
Menthol cigarettes were first developed by Lloyd "Spud" Hughes in 1924, though the idea did not become popular until the Axton-Fisher Tobacco Company acquired the patent in 1927, marketing them nationwide as "Spud Menthol Cooled Cigarettes". Spud brand menthol cigarettes went on to become the fifth most popular brand in the U.S. by 1932, and it remained the only menthol cigarette on the market until the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company created the Kool brand in 1933.
For over two decades, Kools were the only significant menthol cigarette brand in the United States, with a market share that never got much above 2%. Their advertisements focused on "throat comfort" and the medicinal properties of menthol, and some ads even suggested occasional use: "In between the others, rest your throat with Kools."
R.J. Reynolds Company launched the first menthol filter-tip cigarettes in 1956 under the Salem brand. Less heavily mentholated than Kools, Salems were positioned as an all-purpose cigarette, and captured 0.8% market share within their first year. Other tobacco producers, seeing the success of Salem, soon introduced their own mentholated filter cigarettes: Lorillard with Newport in 1957 and Spring in 1959; Philip Morris with Alpine in 1959; and Brown & Williamson with Belair in 1960.
Design and Manufacture 
Menthol cigarettes are constructed similarly to non-mentholated cigarettes, with menthol added at any of several stages during the manufacturing process. Menthol may be derived from distilled corn mint oil, or produced synthetically. While trace amounts of menthol may be added to non-mentholated cigarettes for flavor or other reasons, a menthol cigarette typically has at least 0.3% menthol content by weight. Lower-tar menthol cigarettes may have menthol levels up to 2%, in order to keep menthol delivery constant despite the filtration and ventilation designs used to reduce tar.
Use and Popularity 
Menthol cigarette usage varies widely by country. They are most popular in the Philippines, where they account for over 60% of total cigarette sales.
United States 
In the United States, menthols comprise about 30% of the total cigarette market. Menthol cigarettes are purchased disproportionately by African-American smokers, with 80% of African-American smokers consuming menthol cigarettes primarily.
A 2008 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that 33.9 percent of smokers use menthol cigarettes, compared to 31 percent in 2004. Much of the increase comes from young people.
United States 
Although the use of menthol in ointments and cough drops is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States of America, regulation of cigarettes was removed from their purview in 2000 by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling, FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.  In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products and ban flavor additives, although the act contained an exception for menthol.
On March 18, 2011 the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (an advisory panel to the FDA) concluded that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health in the United States, but stopped short of recommending that the Food and Drug Administration take any specific actions, like restricting or banning the additive. In response, the tobacco industry released a report to the FDA changed focus subject by claiming menthol cigarettes are no riskier than regular cigarettes and should not be regulated differently.
A progress report on panel findings was expected from the FDA in July 2011.
Opposition to proposed ban 
Several Black advocacy groups have voiced opposition to a proposed ban on menthol in cigarettes. The Congress of Racial Equality, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and the National Black Police Association have urged the FDA to reject a ban on mentholated cigarettes due to concerns that banning mentholated cigarettes could spur an illicit market for the outlawed products in minority communities.
Groups representing law enforcement officers also oppose the ban. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America and the National Troopers Coalition have urged the FDA to consider the impact a ban on menthol cigarettes would have on tobacco smuggling.
The proposed menthol ban also saw opposition from organized labor. In December 2010, workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union protested outside a meeting between FDA officials and industry representatives in Raleigh, North Carolina, arguing that a menthol ban would cost many workers their jobs.
Health impact 
According to a North American study, women and non-African Americans who prefer mentholated cigarettes tend to have more strokes than non-menthol smokers, but not high blood pressure which is possibly because the menthol in cigarettes has a particular effect on the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. The risk of lung cancer is no different for mentholated cigarettes compared to unmentholated cigarettes.
- Benowitz, Neal; Herrera, Brenda; Jacob, Peyton (2004). "Mentholated Cigarette Smoking Inhibits Nicotine Metabolism". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 310 (3): 1208–15. doi:10.1124/jpet.104.066902. ISSN 0022-3565. PMID 15084646.
- "Process of Treating Cigarette Tobacco". United States Patent Office.
- McNichols, Tom (25 March 2011). "Mint that Kills: The Curious Life of Menthol Cigarettes". The Atlantic. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Market Science Associates. "The Growth of Menthols: 1933-1977". Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Characterization of Menthol: History and Design of Menthol Cigarettes". Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Epidemiology of Menthol Cigarette Use". U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- "Lorillard, Inc 2012 Form 10-K, p.40". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Rubin, Rita (2009-09-27). "Exclusion of menthol cigarettes in ban worries health experts". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- "Harvard Researchers Gather More Evidence Implicating Menthol in Health Disparities Between White and Black Smokers".
- "The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report". Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Craver, Richard (2012-09-26). "Reynolds to offer more menthol versions of Pall Mall cigarettes". Winston-Salem Journal.
- "Brazil bans flavorings".
- "FDA V. BROWN & WILLIAMSON TOBACCO CORP. (98-1152)". United States Supreme Court. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Wilson, Duff (18 March 2011). "Advisory Panel Urges F.D.A to Re-examine Menthol in Cigarettes". New York Times. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Tobacco Makers Fight Menthol Rules". Associated Press. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Much heated puffing among minority groups over menthol cigarette ban". Los Angeles Times. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Rubin, Rita (14 March 2011). "FDA weighs ban on Newports, other menthol cigarettes". USA Today. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Lee, Jessie (24 March 2011). "Banning menthol cigarettes will create contraband market". Indianapolis Recorder. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "National Troopers Coalition Applauds FDA Consideration of New Black Market Tobacco Study". PR Newswire. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Union: Don't Ban Menthols". Winston-Salem Journal. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- Zajac, Andrew (18 March 2011). "Tobacco industry brushes off call for FDA restrictions on menthol cigarettes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Menthol smokers have more strokes: study". April 13, 2012.
- Lee, PN (April 2011). "Systematic review of the epidemiological evidence comparing lung cancer risk in smokers of mentholated and unmentholated cigarettes". BMC Pulmonary Medicine 11 (18). doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-18. PMC 3103484. PMID 21501470.
- FTC Cigarette Report for 2002
- FDA Milestones
- Menthol vs. Nonmenthol Cigarettes: Effects on Smoking Behavior
- Menthol Cigarette Smoking in African Americans and whites
- Menthol Cigarette Brands made in Europe
- UCSF Tobacco Industry Videos Collection