A report by US media Newsone on November 15th revealed that approximately 77% of African American smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, as per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This preference is attributed to the active promotion of menthol cigarette products by the tobacco industry targeting the African American community in US cities.
Scientists at Yale University concluded in a 2012 report that menthol-flavored cigarettes are more addictive than regular cigarettes. The menthol flavor makes tobacco products easier to tolerate, thereby increasing nicotine addiction and smoking-related diseases. The study also identified a greater risk posed by menthol cigarettes to underage individuals.
Gwen Carr, an advocate whose son died following a conflict with the New York Police Department over unpaid cigarette taxes, has expressed criticism of the menthol ban. She believes that flavor bans are not enough and emphasizes the need for education and treatment.
Carl stated, “Menthol itself is not lethal; it is the nicotine compound that has harmful effects. If smoking is to be banned, racial discrimination should not be involved. Either ban it completely or don’t ban it at all.”
Reverend Al Sharpton has also expressed similar concerns, predicting a surge in illegal sales following the ban on menthol.
According to statistics from the American Lung Association, the proportion of African American smokers in the United States stands at 16.8%, slightly higher than the 16.6% rate among white smokers. However, the number of African American smokers who use menthol cigarettes is over three times that of white smokers.