Shirley Maxwell, of 3003 Greenwood Ave., lit a cigarette Thursday at the Screaming Eagle bar. 
Aug. 5, 1981

Janie Heath, Ellen J. Hahn, Audrey Darville and Lovoria Williams

The news of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to ban mentholated cigarettes and flavored cigars will save lives. Every two and a half minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with lung cancer. Every day in the U.S., 400 lives are lost to lung cancer. If the FDA’s proposal is approved, researchers expect a 15% decline in tobacco smoking. Over the next 40 years, that decline in smokers could result in saving up to 654,000 lives. Nearly one-third of those deaths avoided will be among non-Hispanic Black smokers, who are more likely to use menthol cigarettes than non-Hispanic white smokers.

Why ban menthol in cigarettes and flavored cigars?

Menthol is a chemical compound that the tobacco industry intentionally adds to cigarettes to market as “smoother” and “less harsh.” However, menthol’s flavor and sensory effects make menthol-flavored tobacco products highly addictive and appealing, especially to new users such as youth and young adults. Despite the marketing that suggests otherwise, mentholated cigarettes are not less harmful than non-mentholated and are likely a greater public health risk, especially among Black and urban communities. There are over 18.5 million menthol cigarette smokers ages 12 and older in the U.S.

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Shirley Maxwell, of 3003 Greenwood Ave., lit a cigarette Thursday at the Screaming Eagle bar. 
Aug. 5, 1981

Historically, the tobacco industry targeted marketing of mentholated products to young and Black Americans through culturally tailored advertising. As such, compared to other racial/ethnic groups, Black Americans have the highest proportion of menthol cigarette use and seven out of 10 Black youth who smoke use mentholated cigarettes. Although Black Americans begin smoking at later ages than white youth, they are disproportionately affected by heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.

#action #ban #menthol #cigarettes #flavored #cigars #saves #lives

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