BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – A statewide campaign called “It’s Not Fair” targets the marketing of menthol-flavored tobacco that targets African American communities.
“What we know to be true is that 85% of black people in this country smoke menthol or menthol tobacco products,” said Rashawn Smalls, program director for Advancing Tobacco Free Communities. “You walk into the store, you find this colorful display of tobacco pictures, and it’s engaging. So much so that it’s become so normal in our community.”
This campaign with the Erie and Niagara Tobacco Free Coalition, seek to educate communities on how the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed menthol products to African Americans.
Especially in urban communities.
According to CDC, tobacco companies have consistently placed greater amounts of advertising in African-American publications.
And although smoking has decreased since 1964, there are disparities between groups defined by race, ethnicity and socio-economic status.
“[The tobacco industry] is motivated by this notion of profit. And it turns out that the most vulnerable people specifically target these populations, ”Smalls said.
In late April, the FDA announced that it ban menthol in the next year.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45,000 blacks die each year from tobacco-related illnesses,” Smalls said.
According to the CDC, research shows that menthol cigarettes can be more addictive than non-menthol cigarettes.
You can access free services through the New York State exit line: (866) 697-8487.
You will have access to professional coaching, nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine gum and other resources to help you quit smoking.