Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a plan to ban sales of menthol-flavored cigarettes in the United States, a measure many public health experts hailed as the government’s most meaningful action in more than a decade of tobacco control efforts (Source: “FDA Moves to Ban Sales of Menthol Cigarettes,” New York Times, April 28, 2022).
The ban would most likely have the deepest impact on Black smokers, nearly 85% of whom use menthol cigarettes, compared with 29% of white smokers, according to a government survey. If effective in reducing smoking, the ban could significantly diminish the burden of chronic disease and limit the number of lives cut short by one of the most hazardous legal products available.
Public health experts say menthol cigarettes have been heavily marketed to Black people, to devastating effect: African American men have the highest rates of lung cancer in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.