Nov 1, 2019

African Americans question Trump's inaction on menthol cigarettes

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

Smoking cigarettes in the U.S. hits all-time low

Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Cigarette smoking among U.S. adults reached an all-time low in 2018 at nearly 14%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday, a decline of roughly 66% over the last 50 years.

Between the lines: Smoking cigarettes remains deadlier than vaping despite a spotlight on the 2,000-plus cases and dozens of deaths associated with e-cigarette lung injuries this year. More than 34 million adults continue to smoke, and millions more use other tobacco products, per the study.

Go deeperArrowNov 14, 2019

Mass. becomes first state to outlaw flavored tobacco and vaping products

Protestors against Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's vaping ban on the front steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill into law on Wednesday for a sweeping ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes.

Why it matters: The Act Modernizing Tobacco Control law is the first of its kind prohibiting these products permanently and on a statewide basis. The ban on flavored vaping products will be effective immediately, while the outlawed sale of menthol cigarettes starts June 1, 2020 in the wake of the vaping epidemic, resulting in illnesses and deaths across the country.

Go deeper: Vaping and vitamin E acetate: What we know

Keep ReadingArrowNov 27, 2019

New York City bans non-tobacco vaping flavors

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Manhattan is expected to become the largest U.S. city to ban all vaping flavors except tobacco, after its city council voted on Tuesday in favor of the ban, as Mayor Bill de Blasio is anticipated to pass the bill into law, CNBC reports.

The big picture: There are 2,290 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury in 49 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories and 47 deaths associated with e-cigarette use as of Nov. 20, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019