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Stop If You Do, Don't Start If You Don't

Tabaco is BAD for human consumption. For all the obvious reasons. Yet, no matter how many warning labels and evidence that smoking is truly bad, folks continue to be part of this widespread habit around the world. Just to recap what I hope you’ve heard, some health concerns that can be caused by smoking are respiratory systems complications, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, impacts to your external appearance and weakening of the immune system. If you don’t smoke, don’t start! Smoking causes a grave threat to your health and the health of those around you. If you do and you find it hard to quit, please seek help.

Now let’s talk about something I’ve just learned. It may not be your fault if you smoke and have trouble quitting. It’s not your fault if you are African American because you have been targeted. That’s right! For decades, the tobacco industry has employed marketing strategies to target specific community and of course you know it, the Black community has borne the brunt of these tactics. According to the this has been going on for more than 60 years and continues today. They target our children and has had devastating impacts on Black health and lives.

The targeting is done by strategically placed advertisements in African American publications, sponsored events and even use of influential black figures to endorse menthol cigarettes. According to… Menthol is a chemical compound extracted from peppermint or corn mint plants or created synthetically. It reduces the harshness of the smoke and has a cooling effect on the mouth and throat. It also suppresses the coughing reflex, which makes inhaling smoke from cigarettes more tolerable. Consequently, the appeal of menthol is what contributes to higher percentage of young African Americans becoming addicted to smoking. Studies show that Black smokers have a disproportionately higher preference for menthol cigarettes compared to other racial or ethnic groups.

Please share this information with everyone you know. It’s so important to raise the awareness about the harmful effects of menthol cigarettes especially among the Black community. Give yourself grace and get help if you are having trouble quitting. Visit the two websites mentioned in this blog for information to find how you can get involved, support the organizations working to ban menthol cigarettes and support smoking cessation programs. Together we can work towards reducing health disparities and ensuring a healthier, smoke-free community for all.


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