New Report Details the Big Tobacco Targets Black Communities and the Devastating Health Impact
Report Calls for Eliminating Menthol Cigarettes and Expanding Services to Help Smokers Quit
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will release a new report detailing how for more than 60 years, the tobacco industry has deliberately targeted the Black community – especially youth – with menthol cigarettes and other products. This predatory marketing has been ruthlessly effective.
Today, 85 percent of all Black smokers smoke menthol cigarettes and the tobacco
industry profits enormously while destroying Black lives and health.
Menthol cigarettes – which are even more addictive and harder to quit than regular cigarettes –
are a major reason why cigarette use is the leading preventable cause of death for Black
Americans. Black Americans die at higher rates than other groups from tobacco-related diseases like
cancer, heart disease and stroke. Menthol also masks the harshness of smoking, making it easier for kids to try cigarettes and ultimately become addicted.
Even now, as smoking has been identified as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 and this pandemic
disproportionately impacts Black Americans, menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products
continue to be heavily advertised, widely available and priced cheaper in Black communities, making
them particularly appealing to young people. The cigarette industry continues to target a new generation of Black youth to addict them to flavored tobacco products like those that have historically ravaged their communities.
The new report calls on the FDA and federal, state and local lawmakers to stop the cigarette
industry’s predatory practices by eliminating menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco
products. It also calls for expanding the availability and promotion of programs to help smokers quit.
These actions will promote health equity and save lives.