Menthol rolling papers, while generally not preferred by purists, can enhance the smoking experience in certain ways. Menthol differs from other flavorings used to create flavored rolling papers in that, while many flavors are artificially synthesized, menthol can be obtained from peppermint — that is to say, although it can be synthesized, menthol is also a naturally occurring compound.
The cool feeling experienced when you smoke a menthol cigarette is due to the unique properties of menthol. Menthol activates the TRPM8 receptors in the skin. These receptors are cold-sensitive, so their activation causes you to feel a sensation that you normally associate with the cold. Menthol can also help in relieving minor throat and mouth irritation, which means that smoking a cigarette rolled with menthol rolling papers may not give you the irritated feeling that some people associate with most flavored rolling papers.
Menthol rolling papers were first introduced in the early twentieth century. The RizLa+ rolling paper company, one of the oldest companies of its kind, introduced the flavor (along with strawberry) in 1906. Menthol cigarettes didn't come along until 1924, and didn't start becoming popular until about 1927.
Although some people find that any kind of flavored rolling papers interfere with the taste of the tobacco, others find that the flavor of the rolling paper actually affects the smoke very little. It will certainly leave a bit of flavor on the lips and tongue.
Menthol rolling papers, and menthol cigarettes, are also unique in that they were untouched by the legislation enacted in 2010 under the Obama administration. This legislation banned candy- and fruit- flavored rolling papers, flavored tobacco, and clove cigarettes. The reasoning behind the legislation was that such products were aimed at children and would tend to increase smoking among the youth; and that such products had a sort of "gateway" effect, leading those who would not normally try tobacco to smoke it for the first time, which would lead to frequent use, addiction, and later on, health problems. The ban was backed by a study showing that smokers under the age of 17 were about three times as likely as those over the age of 24 to use flavored tobacco products. As of the end of 2010, menthol cigarettes (and menthol rolling papers) remain unaffected by the ban, but there are those who are pushing to have them included in the list of banned products.