Tobacco control advocates are urging the FDA to ban all mental products and address the “pernicious targeting” of Black smokers.
“We look at menthol as a human rights and a social justice issue,” said Carol McGruder, a founding member and co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, based in San Francisco.
A million Black Americans have died from menthol tobacco products in the last 20 years, she said — “which are easy to start and they’re harder to quit” and they “numb” users’ lungs so that they inhale the toxins more deeply.
McGruder characterized the last several years of action on tobacco-control issues as “trickle-down public health policy” — meaning the policies that are passed are the ones protecting those with the most agency, and the most time to help them get implemented.
And because the Black community has so many other issues to deal with, tobacco control is sometimes overlooked, she said.