does menthol from cigarettes crystalize in your lungs?
December 31, 2005 12:16 AM   Subscribe

Does menthol in cigarettes crystalize in your lungs?

I've heard and read conflicting opinions on this and want to know if there's any good evidence for either side. Also, I was told that when you smoke clove cigarettes, tiny pieces of clove cut up your lungs. Is this true, or part of the 'cloves make your lungs bleed' myth?
posted by frankie_stubbs to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
What I heard was that menthols release little bits of fiberglass the put the bleed on your lungs. I really don't know. But clearly there are some wacky rumors out there. Check The Straight Dope, Snopes, etc.
posted by scarabic at 12:43 AM on December 31, 2005


I've seen heavy clove smokers cough up blood. I'm assuming it's due simply to the volatile nature of cloves and clove oil, plus the higher burn temperatures and thicker smoke. As far as I recall there's no actual clove vegatation in most clove cigs, just tobacco infused with clove oil. (Yeah, clove cigarettes are cigarettes. Not comprised of chopped up cloves.)

Menthols, I dunno. They sure taste nasty. Most of the popular menthol cigs I've seen (Kools, Newports, a few others) seem to simply be seriously cheap cigarettes with menthol infusions, sometimes with fancy pants filters. Filters in general are nasty. Very few cigarette makers use real cotton filters any more. There's no overseeing agency that detirmines what they can and can't put in a manufactured smoke, or any smoke.
posted by loquacious at 2:51 AM on December 31, 2005

Crystal myth. You can buy menthol crystals to dissolve in hot water for steam inhalation, FDA approved, and my mother's had it recommended to her by doctors several times. Also, I suspect (but am not sure) that the temperature of the lungs is too high to allow recrystallization...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:57 AM on December 31, 2005

"What I heard was that menthols release little bits of fiberglass the put the bleed on your lungs..."

This actually does happen, but not because of menthols. It happens because of the fiberglass used in the filters of most commercial cigarettes. The only brands I'm aware of that don't use fiberglass filters are Parliament and American Spirit, who instead use cotton filters.

This is my recollection from when I was a smoker. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by baphomet at 9:31 AM on December 31, 2005

This is why I smoke unfiltered cigarettes.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 2:51 PM on December 31, 2005

By the way, "cloves make your lungs bleed" is not necessarily a myth. Maybe they don't for everyone, but I ended up in the emergency room with severe chest pain when I was 14 after inhaling while smoking a clove. Thought I was having a heart attack! X-rays said my lungs were inflamed and bleeding.

I guess you aren't supposed to inhale when you smoke cloves.
posted by Sorcia at 11:46 PM on January 1, 2006

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