To the Editor:

Today, tobacco-related diseases are the number one cause of death in the African American community. With nearly nine in ten African American smokers using menthol cigarettes, it is clear that Big Tobacco designed this addiction.

For decades big tobacco companies have aggressively targeted minorities with menthol cigarettes. Identifying and profiling African American communities, the tobacco industry flooded advertising in predominantly black neighborhoods, in popular publications with black audiences, and appropriated African American culture in marketing campaigns.

Menthol flavoring is designed to numb the throat and mask the harsh taste of tobacco. It is easier to smoke than the traditional cigarette and incredibly harder to quit. Menthol cigarettes contain toxic ingredients, including high levels of nicotine. It is virtually impossible to stop and can lead to serious lung-related diseases, even death.

With 89% of African American smokers addicted to menthol cigarettes, it is clear that the Big Tobacco companies need to be stopped. Although the FDA is cracking down on marketing efforts in the tobacco industry, they have yet to prevent this disparity from continuing fully.

Recently the cities of Bangor and Portland have ended the sale of flavored tobacco products within city limits. This measure includes the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes. In doing so, Bangor and Portland have taken a stand against the relentless profiling of African American communities and the youths of our state.

Contact your local legislators and Governor Mills and tell them you want to end the sale of flavored tobacco products throughout our entire state!

Ridwan Ali


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: