Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes is critical to addressing racial health disparities

Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes is critical to addressing racial health disparities

And now, Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that smoking increases the risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Smoking is also a major cause of underlying conditions like heart disease and diabetes that disproportionately impact Black Americans and make them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death among Black Americans, claiming 45,000 Black lives every year. Black Americans die at rates higher than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. from diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the Black community. So, when it comes to justice and fairness, strong tobacco control policies are essential to unraveling the disparities that are created and perpetuated by the tobacco industry. This legislative session, my colleagues and I have the opportunity to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine. In doing so, we will be coming together to say enough is enough to menthol tobacco products taking Black lives. That day is long overdue.

It would be difficult to name another widely available commercial product that has caused more deadly harm to Black Americans than menthol cigarettes. For decades, the tobacco industry has been marketing menthol cigarettes systematically and relentlessly to Black Americans, particularly youth and young adults, with sponsorships of community and music events, free sampling and cheaper pricing in Black communities. In this process of unravelling these long-held, harmful policies and practices, it can be challenging to find the common threads — the starting knots, purposeful or otherwise, that have created a tangle of inequities — by income, by race, by hometown, by gender and by many other social and cultural factors. Tobacco policy is one of those common threads.

In the 1950s, less than 10 percent of Black adults who smoked used menthol cigarettes. Today, after decades of predatory targeting by the tobacco industry, that number is 85 percent. This is absolutely no coincidence. The combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic of systemic racism on our health, our economy and our humanity have felt relentless, and often overwhelming. Nevertheless, I have found hope in many unexpected places, including working with my colleagues in the Maine Legislature to assess and dismantle some of the most egregious systems that have perpetuated health disparities and generational poverty.

Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes is critical in addressing racial health disparities. This policy is about giving the next generation of Maine kids — all Maine kids — the opportunity for good health and a productive future, free from nicotine addiction. To achieve true health equity and advance racial justice, we cannot avoid confronting the tobacco industry and reforming our tobacco policies. We can start by ending the sale of menthol and all flavored tobacco products in Maine. The fact is, Maine law does not criminalize the possession or use of tobacco products. The same would be true for any future federal (FDA) regulation of menthol cigarettes. So, no matter how you hear this convoluted story of gangs and police violence, the tobacco industry is stoking fear and casting doubt in order to shift the narrative from their purposeful predation of young people, particularly our Black and brown children.

In recent weeks, the tobacco industry has painted a grim picture of criminal gangs, operating illegal markets for menthol cigarettes in towns large and small across Maine. At the same time, they claim that a ban on flavored tobacco products would put Black people at heightened risk of being targeted and unfairly attacked by the police for appearing to possess menthol cigarettes. As the time to vote on this transformational legislation draws near, the tobacco industry will say and do almost anything to keep selling their menthol products, which are so essential to their success in attracting and addicting a new generation of tobacco users. They are ruthless and without shame, often bringing their arguments full circle to feign deep care and concern for the very communities they have targeted.

The News Highlights

  • Ending the sale of menthol cigarettes is critical to addressing racial health disparities
  • Check the latest Health news updates and information about health.
Disclaimer: If you need to edit or update this news from compsmag then kindly contact us Learn more

For Latest News Follow us on Google News


Latest Headlines
  • Show all
  • Trending News
  • Popular By week
The Dunkirk Foundry Agreement provides a window into GFG's complex financing web

Swiss Bank Black Money held by Indians Ministry of Finance rejects Swiss claim

  Pointing out the biggest increase is in “Other amounts due from customers”, the Finance Ministry said these are in form of bonds, securities and various ...
Centrum Financial Services is ready for purchase as RBI grants SFB license

Centrum Financial Services is ready for purchase as RBI grants SFB license

  “With Centrum as our partner, we are confident that we can create a world-class institution that provides a differentiated and superlative experience to ...
Health Fusion: harnessing your body’s killer cells to attack breast cancer

Health Fusion: harnessing your body’s killer cells to attack breast cancer

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv. Follow the Health ...
Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases COVID-19 Report, No New Cases for Erie County

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases COVID-19 Report, No New Cases for Erie County

Source The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 177 cases of COVID-19 on Friday with no new deaths. Ashtabula County is reporting 14 new cases of ...
In 2017 Murder of Allstate Financial Planner, Annulment Declared After Jury Deadlock |  Courts

In 2017 Murder of Allstate Financial Planner, Annulment Declared After Jury Deadlock | Courts

State District Judge Eboni Johnson-Rose, who presided over the week-long trial, set a status hearing in the case for July 19 after declaring the mistrial. The ...
The Dunkirk Foundry Agreement provides a window into GFG's complex financing web

Pune: Through Project Care, confidence to extend financial help to children who have lost their parents to Covid-19

Ratan Rathi, trustee of Tarachand Ramnath Seva Trust, said the trust is also working on creating a safety net for these children, so that if a calamity ...
End of extra unemployment benefit and hiring companies |  The business

$10 million awarded to 7 Maine community development finance institutions

“Diverse small business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders of community facilities like child care centers need to be part of the team rebuilding an equitable ...
Men’s ‘Lecture’ at Phoebe Health Fair focuses on health |  Features

Men’s ‘Lecture’ at Phoebe Health Fair focuses on health | Features

“Peach State Health asked be to take part in an event during the Super Bowl, and it was a great experience,” Douglas, a Jonesboro native, said of his ...
The Dunkirk Foundry Agreement provides a window into GFG's complex financing web

News Summary: June 20, 2021 | Local

Longview SBDC hires contracting expert Texas Bank and Trust Co. operates 21 full-service branches throughout East Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With ...
How to Actually Listen to Lossless Tracks on Apple Music

Apple Music Is Bringing Lossless Audio and Dolby Atmos Support to India

During the WWDC 2021 keynote, Apple confirmed these new technologies would launch that day. However, Apple Music subscribers in India have been waiting for ...
Show next
Compsmag - Latest News from tech, business and health
Logo