TOBACCO & MENTHOL
We fight against the marketing and sale of deadly tobacco
products to Black people.
Tobacco Use in Black Communities
Black people who want to quit smoking are typically less successful than other ethnic groups for numerous reasons:
Tobacco industry tactics led most Black smokers towards mentholated products, which are more difficult to quit
There are very few cessation resources developed with Black audiences in mind
Research is unclear about the unique ways in which nicotine addiction affects people of African decent
Black Americans use cessation treatment and services less often
The Center's Tobacco Resources
Black & Milds
The Center produces a number of tobacco related resources to help Black people on their quit journey and to organize against the tobacco industry. We frequently partner with community groups who share our vision.
The Center's Position on Menthol in Tobacco
Tobacco-related illness is still a primary cause of death for Black people. According to CDC data, more than 85% of Black American smokers prefer menthols, as compared to 30% of Caucasian smokers. For decades, The Center of Black Health & Equity has fought against the marketing and sale of deadly tobacco and given particular attention to to the elimination of mentholated tobacco products in our communities. Menthol makes smoking easier to start and harder to quit. Black people consistently report more quitting attempts than the general smoking population, yet experience lower success rates.
The tobacco industry has executed a calculated, menthol-centered strategy to establish a strong presence in Black communities, appropriate Black culture, and create a dependency on tobacco funding. As such, the predominant use of menthols among Black smokers is well documented by public health authorities. Unfortunately, The Center has observed the way in which tobacco control advocates have negotiated to exclude menthol. In the pursuit of their own initiatives banning candy-flavored tobacco, the harm menthol flavoring inflicts on Black communities is ignored. We consider this to be counterproductive and an affront to the integrity of public health efforts. Further, we consider this to be reflective of historical racism.
Black populations have been disregarded as casualties of corporate profits and tobacco policy quick-wins. In order to address this social justice issue, The Center for Black Health & Equity is committed to:
Challenging the tobacco industry’s infiltration into Black communities
Promoting innovative, culturally competent cessation programs
Educating community decision-makers on effective strategies for enacting comprehensive tobacco-free policies. Most importantly, the issue of menthol must be viewed through the lens of racial equality and addressed through the work of restorative justice.