Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday, June 27, 2010 allison, Community Member, asks

Q: Allergic to Menthol Cigarettes

My eyes swelled up the other day after someone smoked a Menthol Cigarette near me. Could I be allergic to this?

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Answers (2)
jthompson, Community Member
7/14/10 4:28am

I had a similar reaction to cigarette smoke a couple of years ago.  It was awful.  I have to politely ask people to not smoke anywhere near me due to my allergies.  Most people are very good about it.  One person refused to accept that someone could be allergic to cigarette smoke.  It was very rude.  I guess they couldn't give up this addiction.  Oh well, everyone else has been very kind.  Hope your allergies come under control.

jthompson, Community Member
7/14/10 4:32am


Menthol is another common flavoring agent in cigarettes (see Table 2).[10] Menthol is derived from plants in the Labiatae or Lamiaceae (mint) family. Menthol is a component of Menthe piperita (peppermint) and is the main ingredient in peppermint oil.[14]

Several case reports have highlighted menthol as a potent allergen. Camarasa and Alomar reported on a 26-year-old female who presented with a 2-year history of scaly lesions with erythema, concentrated around her mouth, upper lip, and dorsal central fingers.[15] She revealed that she smoked various brands of menthol cigarettes but did not use any other products containing mint. The authors stated that she had had positive patch-test reactions to menthol and essence of mint, indicating ACD from menthol. After she stopped smoking menthol cigarettes, her lesions completely cleared.[15]

Wilkinson and Beck reported on a 64-year-old female who presented with a 2-year history of cheilitis and a 62-year-old man who presented with an 18-month history of dermatitis on his upper lip. In subsequent patch testing, the female subject had positive reactions at 48 hours to menthol (in its natural and synthetic forms), peppermint, peppermint oil, colophony, balsam of Peru, and fragrance mix. The male subject had positive patch-test reactions at 48 and 96 hours to natural and synthetic menthol, synthetic and natural peppermint, and peppermint oil. Both patients had negative patch-test results with other components of peppermint oil (i.e., cineole, a-pinene, and l-limonene), leading the researchers to conclude that menthol and not some other component of peppermint oil was the source of the patients' ACD.[16] These case reports indicate that menthol could be a potential allergen in cigarettes.

Mike, Community Member
2/19/11 10:54am

I am a smoker, only when I drink though. anyway, I can smoke non menthal cigarettes, but when I smoke menthals or people around me smoke them I have a horrible cough the next day.

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By allison, Community Member— Last Modified: 02/19/11, First Published: 06/27/10