Written by: Dontae Scisson
The Tobacco industry has been daily advertising and marketing menthol-flavored products to certain communities, leading specific groups, especially people of color, to be affected the most with the highest death rates and diseases such as lung, liver, and throat cancer.
Menthol is only a flavor but a tobacco product that is smoother and better tasting than traditional cigarettes, making it easier for people to start smoking as young as 12, which makes it harder to quit due to the sweet taste of the product that causes this addiction to the product. Learn more about the significant impact of menthol use by Big Tobacco’s tactics to manipulate communities of color and how to stop it.
Throughout the 1950s, Big Tobacco has primarily been advertising and marketing toward the African American community with menthol companies such as New Port, Marlboro, Camel, Kool, and Seneca. According to the CDC, African Americans are the highest users of Menthols in the country. African Americans are also 40% more likely to die from Menthol use in the country. 7 out of 10 African American youths in the US smoke menthol; go to any convenience store, and you will always see a shelf advertising cigarettes. That’s what makes youths more likely to get addicted.
Even though African American smoke less but die due to heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses connected to Tobacco at a higher rate than white smokers.
According to the national library of Medicine, Latinos are also at risk of dying from menthols. Latino smokers have disproportionately been exposed to Tobacco at higher rates than whites. The NAHH (National Alliance for Hispanic Health) is making a call to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for rules to prohibit the use of Menthols and flavored cigars.
51% of Latino smokers age 12 and older face health issues affecting the community, and 50.8% of Latino Middle and High schoolers have reported smoking. An estimated record of 960,000 Latinos is currently smoking menthols in the United States. According to the CDC, Puerto Ricans are more likely to smoke than Mexicans and Dominicans in America. Public health recorded that 8.2% of Latino adults in the US smoke daily.
Truth Initiate states that 2.5% of Asian American high schoolers and 0.4% of Asian American middle schoolers are recently smoking, compared to 5.8% of high schoolers and 2.3% of middle schoolers. In 2017 Asian American Adults influxes to 2.1% compared to 5.2% of young adults overall. In 2016 it was recorded that 14% of Asian American men and 4.6% of Women were currently smoking menthol compared to 17.5% of American men and 13.5% of American Women in the United States.
It was recorded that Asian American die from heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, and liver disease from menthol smoking.
Big Tobacco has also targeted and been an ally to the pride community for decades, but they are not for support. They are there for aggressive marketing, and LGBT users are more likely to smoke menthol than non-LGBT users and are more likely to die from it.
Over half of the minors in the United States from the ages of 12-17 have been recently recorded smoking menthols due to advertising. The average age of young smokers starts at 13; today’s teenagers will be future customers of these products.