Report: Industry Targeting Continues to Harm the Black Community

April 9th, 2021

Image reads: stopping menthol, saving lives: ending big tobacco's predatory marketing to black communitiesThe Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids released a report in February explaining how the targeted marketing of menthol products by the tobacco industry has harmed Black communities.

Tobacco industry targeting through marketing, event sponsorships, and retail promotions has caused smoking rates of menthol cigarettes among Black Americans to climb consistently for 60+ years. Menthol cigarettes are even more harmful than other cigarettes, in part due to the fact that menthol masks the harsh taste of tobacco and is easier to inhale deeply. This has led to more young people using menthol, a more intense addiction, and even more difficulty quitting.. 

Tobacco use, specifically menthol products, is a major contributor to three leading causes of death among Black Americans: heart disease, cancer and stroke.

The report also includes the following key findings:

  • In the 1950s, less than 10% of Black people who smoke used menthol cigarettes; today, 85% of Black people who smoke use menthol.
  • Menthol cigarettes continue to be heavily advertised, widely available, and priced cheaper in Black communities.
  • The cooling mint flavor of menthol numbs the throat and reduces the harshness of tobacco smoke, making menthol cigarettes more appealing and easier to use.As a result, menthol cigarettes increase the number of youth and young adults who experiment with cigarettes and become smokers. 
  • Young people who start smoking menthol cigarettes are more likely to become addicted and long-term daily smokers.

The report is supported by 11 organizations that advocate for tobacco-free communities and health equity for Black communities nationwide. 

See the report to learn the history of menthol targeting and how it continues to harm Black communities >>