What’s Menthol Got To Do With It? Everything When It Comes To Health Disparities Among Blacks

Posted on PRLog.org prior to Christmas to remind the public to give health conscious gifts…see original article: https://www.prlog.org/12609627

SAN FRANCISCODec. 22, 2016PRLog

WHAT’S MENTHOL GOT TO DO WITH IT? EVERYTHING
MENTHOL IS A GATEWAY TO AFRICAN AMERICAN HEALTH DISPARITIES

 & HIGHER DEATH RATES

Over 80 percent of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes, compared to 24 percent of white smokers. In addition, 88 percent of African American middle-school smokers and 87 percent of African American high-school smokers smoke menthols. Menthol cigarettes are cheaper to purchase in African American communities and low-income communities. In California, the smoking rate among African American adults has consistently been greater than that of the general population.

“Menthol in cigarettes is a public health hazard; menthol mask the harshness of the poison, making it easier for our youth to start smoking, it keeps people smoking, and often prevents them from quitting,” said Carol McGruder, co-chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC).
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A highly aromatic compound derived from mint oils, menthol creates a pleasant taste and a cooling sensation that is powerful enough to mask the harshness of tobacco products, enhancing the popularity of menthol cigarettes, especially among young and beginner smokers.

“The evidence is clear; banning menthol in cigarettes will save lives,” said Dr. Philip Gardiner, co-chair of the AATCLC. “We must protect the health of our communities, especially African American and Latino communities, which are the hardest hit by this poison. It’s shameful for our government to ban all cigarette flavorings, while it has yet to act on the one that addicts our youth and is ultimately one of the deadliest for communities of color.”

Research shows that just a 10 per cent quit rate among menthol smokers would save thousands of lives, preventing over 4,000 smoking attributable deaths in the first ten years and that 300,000 lives would be saved over forty years. Approximately 100,000 (a full one third) of those whose lives would be saved would be African American.

As the founder of the “Great American Smokeout, Frederick S. Mayer and free lance writer Anh Le have in their recent op/ed (https://www.prlog.org/12608286) encouraged the public to regain health and stop smoking, ¬†African American communities need to pay special attention as tobacco companies have targeted their communities with life-threatening menthol cigarettes offered at cheaper prices at a store close to home,” added Carol McGruder.

For more information about AATCLC- The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council visit SavingBlackLives.org.

The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council educates the African American community about tobacco prevention and cessation. AATCLC also partners with community stakeholders and public health agencies to inform and impact the direction of tobacco policy, practices, and priorities, as it affects the lives of African-Americans.

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