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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump recently vowed to ban all e-cigarettes as part of a greater strategy to prevent nicotine addiction in adolescents, but some African Americans are questioning why he hasn't done the same with menthol cigarettes, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Menthol cigarettes have long been a health threat in African American communities but, unlike with vaping, the current presidential administration hasn't come down hard on the cigarette industry.

By the numbers: Nearly 47,000 African Americans die every year of smoking-related causes, the Post reports.

  • Nearly three-quarters of African American smokers use menthol-flavored cigarettes, which is more than three times the proportion of white smokers. 70% of African American teen smokers use them, per the Post.
  • Only 7.5% of African American students are e-cigarette users, according to data from the Center for Disease Control.

The other side: Tobacco industry advocates, including civil rights leader Al Sharpton, say that a ban on cigarettes would rob smoking adults of a legal product, take tax revenue away from states and give police another reason to target harass people of color.

  • Yes, but: It's also worth noting that Sharpton's National Action Network has received funding and support from the tobacco industry.

The bottom line: Cigarettes "disproportionately and adversely affect underserved communities," former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote last year. It will take sweeping change to stop that.

Go deeper

40 mins ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

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