The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) supports the rulemakings to prohibit menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars. Each year, approximately 45,000 Black Americans die from smoking-related diseases and although they begin smoking at a later age than white people, Black women are more likely to die from tobacco-related causes. Today, nearly 85% of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes, compared with just 29% of white smokers. This is not by accident. For years, the tobacco industry has aggressively and deliberately focused its predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes in Black communities. The FDA has rightly decided to focus its enforcement measures on manufacturers of menthol cigarettes rather than individual consumers.
This is a public health and social justice issue. We applaud the Administration’s action to save lives and center health equity in its policies. Through our work, BWHI will continue to advocate and protect the health of Black women and girls and fight the tobacco industry who product is responsible for the leading cause of preventable disease and death.”