Pulegone, a constituent of oil extracts prepared from mint plants, including peppermint, spearmint and pennyroyal, is a carcinogen that causes hepatic carcinomas, pulmonary metaplasia, and other neoplasms on oral administration in rodents.1 In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned synthetic pulegone as a food additive.2 Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detected substantial amounts of pulegone in mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarette liquids and smokeless tobacco products marketed in the United States.3,4 The tobacco industry has minimized pulegone levels in cigarette flavorings because of toxicity concerns. Mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes may be exempt from proposed federal regulations; therefore, the health risk associated with pulegone in these products should be considered.
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Jabba SV, Jordt S. Risk Analysis for the Carcinogen Pulegone in Mint- and Menthol-Flavored e-Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco Products. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 16, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3649
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