"The appeal of menthol cigarettes among youth stems from the perception that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes," said Sunday Azagba, a scientist at University of Waterloo in Canada.

The minty taste helps mask the noxious properties, but the reality is that they are just as dangerous as any unflavoured cigarette, Azagba said.

Menthol smokers were almost three times more likely to report that they intend to continue smoking in the next year, the findings of the research focussing on smoking habit of youth in Canada showed.

"There is a growing concern that the high popularity of menthol cigarettes among youth may hinder the recent progress in preventing other young people from smoking because many of them may experiment with menthol rather than unflavoured brands," Azagba noted.

"It is clear moving forward that we need new laws to ban all added flavours in all tobacco products," Azagba concluded.

The study appeared in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.

(Agencies)

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