100 Black Men of America Approves… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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100 Black Men of America Approves Resolution in Favor of Ending Sales of Menthol Cigarettes and Other Flavored Tobacco Products

June 26, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At their recent annual conference in Las Vegas, the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. approved a resolution in favor of ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and flavored cigars. This resolution underscores the strong, broad support across the country for eliminating menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products and stopping tobacco companies from using these products to target and addict kids, Black Americans and other communities.

“The 100 Black Men of America is widely recognized as the nation’s top African American-led mentoring organization, and their members have witnessed firsthand the harm that menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products cause to the health of their communities. Now they are stepping up to demand action. Policymakers at every level should listen and act, including the FDA, states and localities across the country. We applaud the strong leadership of the 100 Black Men of America in supporting policies that will protect kids from tobacco addiction, advance health equity and save lives,” said John Bowman, Executive Vice President of U.S. Programs, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“The tobacco industry’s decades long, systematic targeting of the Black community has led to far too many devastating and disproportionate health consequences. In keeping to our mission to mentor the next African-American generation, the 100 Black Men of America are proud to join many other leading civil rights and medical organizations in our strong support of ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and flavored e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Wes Bellamy, National Public Policy Committee Chair, 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

This resolution adds to the strong and growing support for ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. The bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors earlier this month passed a similar resolution of support.

This support should spur the FDA to meet its own deadline to issue final rules this year to prohibit menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The FDA’s plan is supported by a wide range of organizations, scientists and elected officials – including theNAACP, other Black civil rights and public health organizations, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. A coalition of more than 100 public health, social justice, medical, parent, community and other organizations voiced strong support in comments submitted to the FDA.

In addition, more states and localities should join the five states and over 360 localities that have already cracked down on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

As the resolution notes, the tobacco industry has systematically targeted Black communities for decades with marketing for menthol cigarettes. Big Tobacco profits while 45,000 Black lives are lost to smoking-related illnesses each year. The FDA has concluded that menthol cigarettes are more addictive, easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit. Research estimates that prohibiting menthol cigarettes would save up to 654,000 lives, including 255,000 Black lives, and would quickly eliminate the disparity in lung cancer deaths between Black Americans and other racial groups.

The resolution also calls for eliminating other flavored tobacco products. In 2022, over 2.5 million U.S. youth were current e-cigarette users, and 85% of them reported using flavored products. In addition, cigars are sold in hundreds of kid-friendly flavors, like Banana Smash, Chocolate Brownie and Cherry Dynamite. They are the second most popular tobacco product among youth and are especially popular among Black youth.