Acute effects of inhaled menthol on cognitive effects of intravenous nicotine among young adult cigarette smokers

Nancy C. Jao, Ralitza Gueorguieva, Brian Hitsman, Mehmet Sofuoglu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Basic science studies indicate that menthol can enhance the cognitive effects of nicotine to increase nicotine dependence; however, the effect of menthol and nicotine on cognitive functioning among humans has been understudied. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the dose-dependent effects of inhaled menthol flavoring and intravenous nicotine on cognitive task performance. Twenty menthol (MS) and 18 non-menthol (NMS) cigarette preferring, young-adult smokers (21% female; 7.9% Hispanic, 44.7% Non-Hispanic/White, 47.4% Non-Hispanic/Black) completed three sessions with randomized order of menthol flavoring (between-sessions: 0.0%/tobacco control, 0.5%/low, 3.2%/high) and intravenous nicotine (within-session: 0.0 mg/saline control, 0.25 mg/low, 0.5 mg/high). After each administration, participants completed three cognitive tasks: Continuous Performance Task (CPT), Mathematical Processing Task (MPT), and Stroop Task. Mixed effects models were used to examine interactive effects of cigarette type preference and menthol and nicotine doses. MS vs. NMS had decreased accuracy on CPT and MPT and efficiency during Stroop. No significant effects of cigarette type preference by menthol or nicotine were found for any task. Significant effects of nicotine by menthol were found during Stroop, where participants had greater accuracy for high nicotine compared to saline during the low menthol session. Significant effects of menthol by timepoint were seen during Stroop, where participants improved across timepoints during the low menthol session. Findings did not support significant effects of inhaled menthol, alone or with nicotine, on cognitive performance. Further research clarifying the impact of varying menthol and nicotine levels in nicotine products may help to elucidate menthol's role in smoking sustainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107022
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cognition
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Menthol
  • Nicotine
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology


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