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Rev Anthony Evans Urges the Biden Administration to Leave the Menthol Cigarette Ban in Place

Rev Anthony Evans

President Joe Biden portrait

President Joe Biden

Rev. Al Sharpton

Rev. Al Sharpton

Menthol is Killing the Black Community

NBCI members are losing faith in President Biden and if they succumb to the political pressure of Al Sharpton and Black farmers it will be difficult for NBCI to get our members to the polls in 2024”
— Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, November 21, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The Right Most Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a coalition of 150,000 African American and Latino churches which constitute 27.7 million churchgoers, is sending the Biden Administration a clear message to leave the Menthol Ban in place as there will be unforeseen consequences in 2024. It is no secret that the Biden Administration is now struggling with Black voters in an unprecedented way. For the first in a long time, NBCI members are losing faith in President Biden and if they succumb to the political pressure of the perceived power of Al Sharpton and Black farmers it will be difficult for NBCI to get our 27.7 million to the polls in 2024.

History has shown voting against the Black church is not morally wise.

Menthol is but one of NBCI health concerns. We have compiled and disseminated a comprehensive list of black health priorities in the "NBCI Black Health Concerns" booklet. www.naltblackchurch.com/pdf/health-booklet.pdf

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), fewer people now smoke cigarettes than in recent decades(1, 2), but the proportion of people who smoke and use menthol cigarettes has increased, particularly among population groups that experience tobacco-related disparities(3, 4).

The tobacco industry aggressively targets its marketing to certain populations, including young people, women, and racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly Black people(5, 6, 7, 8). These groups are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes compared to other population groups.

Youth and Young Adults
Nearly all people who smoke cigarettes begin in adolescence or young adulthood(9, 10). Studies show that youth and young adults are more likely to try a menthol cigarette as their first cigarette, rather than a non-menthol cigarette(11, 12, 13). Those who first start with a menthol cigarette are more likely to continue smoking(11, 12).

In 2023, 40.4% of middle school and high school students who currently smoked cigarettes reported using menthol cigarettes(14). In 2020, 53% of young adults (18-25 years old) who currently smoked cigarettes reported using menthol cigarettes(14). That same year, fewer than 42% of adults over 35 years old who currently smoked cigarettes reported using menthol cigarettes(3).

In 2023, nearly 9 in 10 (86.9%) youth (grades 6-12) who reported using tobacco products used flavored varieties(14). In addition to menthol-flavored cigarettes, other menthol-flavored tobacco products are popular among youth.

Among middle and high school students:
• 23.9% of those who used flavored nicotine pouches used menthol pouches.
• 17.4% of those who used flavored smokeless tobacco used menthol smokeless tobacco.
• 21.4% of those who used flavored e-cigarettes used menthol e-cigarettes.
• 16.5% of those who used flavored cigars used menthol cigars(14).

In 2018-2019, among adults 18-34 years old:
• 93.1% of those who used flavored smokeless tobacco used mint/menthol smokeless tobacco.
• 45.1% of those who used flavored hookah used mint/menthol hookah.
• 35.7% of those who used flavored e-cigarettes used mint/menthol e-cigarettes.
• 20.8% of those who used flavored cigars used mint/menthol cigars.
• 11.1% of those who used flavored blunts (the hollowed-out tobacco leaf wrapper of a cigar filled with marijuana) used mint/menthol blunts(15).

It is estimated that 40% of excess deaths due to menthol cigarette smoking in the U.S. between 1980 - 2018 were those of African Americans, despite African Americans making up only about 12% of the U.S. population(17).

Non-Hispanic Black or African American people who smoke cigarettes, regardless of age, are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes than people of other races or ethnicities who smoke cigarettes(16). It is estimated that between 1980 – 2018, 1.5 million African Americans began smoking menthol cigarettes and 157,000 African Americans died prematurely because of menthol cigarettes(17).

• In 2018, 51.4% of non-Hispanic Black and 50.6% of Hispanic high school and middle school students who smoked used menthol cigarettes, compared to 42.8% of non-Hispanic White youth(18).

• In 2018-2019, approximately 70% of Black or African American adults 18-34 years old who currently smoked cigarettes used menthol cigarettes, compared to 39% of White adults in that same age group(15).

• A survey of people ages 12 years and older who used a menthol cigarette, menthol cigar, or menthol cigarillo as their first tobacco product between 2014 and 2018 found that 24.7% of those surveyed were non-Hispanic Black people and 29.3% were Hispanic people. These were significantly higher proportions as compared to the U.S. population. The study authors noted that census data at the time showed that 12.6% of the U.S. population were Black or African American people and 16.3% were Hispanic people(19). That same census year, 14.6% of the U.S. population were non-Hispanic Black people(20).

• A survey conducted between 2013 and 2015 showed that among non-Hispanic Black adults who smoke, approximately 93% used menthol cigarettes when they first tried smoking. Among non-Hispanic White adults who smoke, 44% used menthol cigarettes when they first tried smoking(13).

• In 2020, approximately 81% of non-Hispanic Black adults who currently smoked cigarettes used menthol cigarettes, compared to 34% of non-Hispanic White adults(3).

People who smoke menthol cigarettes make more attempts to quit smoking than those who smoke non-menthol cigarettes(21). However, the proportion of people who tried and succeeded in quitting non-menthol cigarettes is greater than the proportion of people who have tried and succeeded in quitting menthol cigarettes(21). This could be due to a number of factors, including the way in which menthol enhances the effects of nicotine in the brain(22). African American people who smoke menthol cigarettes may be even less successful in quitting than other population groups.(6) Black or African American people can face barriers when trying to find and use proven quit smoking treatments. Also, the conditions in which non-Hispanic Black people live, learn, work and play may make it harder to quit(2).

Click the following links to all mentioned statistics. See CDC articles: Menthol Smoking and Related Health Disparities and Menthol Tobacco Products are a Public Health Problem

ABOUT NBCI
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 150,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. The mission of NBCI is to provide critical wellness information to all its members, congregants, churches, and the public. NBCI utilizing faith and sound health science and partners with major organizations and officials reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI's programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science-based strategies and techniques, and methods that work and offer faith-based, out-of-the-box, and cutting-edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues.

Anthony Evans
National Black Church Initiative
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