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SOCIAL JUSTICE

FDA believes that a ban on menthol cigarettes might save a significant number of African-American lives.

Credit: CDC

As a distinctive taste in cigarettes and all distinct flavors other than tobacco in cigars, Menthol has been suggested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

According to a government agency, besides reducing sickness and mortality, the measure is expected to decrease teenage experimentation and addiction while boosting the number of smokers who give up their habit. 

As tobacco firms were prohibited from promoting their products to minors in the 1960s, they had to develop other means of selling cigarettes. 

According to Wailoo, the business started shifting aggressively toward marketing aimed at Black communities. Black journals such as Ebony became so reliant on tobacco advertising that they were oblivious to its catastrophic effects on our society. 

When the tobacco industry sought Black community influencers like barbers or bellhops, they would provide free samples to share with their clients, Wailoo continued to explain. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over 18.5 million menthol cigarette users were in the United States in 2019. About 92,000 to 238,000 African Americans would avoid smoking-related fatalities if the FDA mandated the removal of menthol cigarettes from the U.S. market. 

In a statement to the FDA, the NAACP, which acknowledges receiving support from tobacco corporations for over two decades, urged the agency to make significant reforms. 

To this day, marketing tactics like discounting menthol items in Black neighborhoods and advertising in establishments frequented by members of those groups. These groups are sponsoring and giving sponsorship funds for activities — they are still being used. 

After the public comment period opens on May 4, the FDA will analyze the submissions and decide whether to take further action. The FDA will determine whether to release final product standards after all comments have been examined and considered. 

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