Currently, in the United States, young African Americans die disproportionately from tobacco-related diseases compared with people in other population groups. In an effort to help stop this troubling trend, a group of black doctors is pushing to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes in this country, Fox News reports.
Last month, the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council sent a letter to President Obama asking him to direct the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to yank menthol cigarettes from stores. Led by a number of top black doctors, the group said flavored smokes hook younger people by allowing the poisons in tobacco products “to go down easier.” To support their stand, the physicians cited recent research that shows 83 percent of African-American adult smokers and 72 percent of underage black smokers currently prefer menthol-flavored brands.
The letter also cited a 2013 report by the FDA that found menthol cigarettes are more likely to pose a greater public health risk than regular cigarettes. This is because minty-tasting cigs are associated with increased smoking initiation among younger people as well as with promoting greater addiction among smokers across the country. But the FDA report stopped short of recommending that these products be removed from U.S. markets.
Black doctors urged President Obama to direct the FDA to issue a proposed rule to remove all flavored tobacco products, including mentholated cigarettes, from stores. “Your strong and decisive leadership can give our community a fighting chance against the number one killer of Black people, tobacco,” the physicians stressed in their letter.
Click here to learn more about why menthol cigarettes make it harder for minorities to quit smoking.