The Biden administration has moved closer to imposing a ban on flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes. Now, several health organizations are trying to spread the word to black smokers who intend to give up smoking so that help is available. Healthcare experts at Medriva are ready to extend support for black smokers to stop using menthols.
85% of black smokers use menthol
Around 85% of the black smokers in the US use menthol. It is an increase of 4% compared to 2020. According to the data gathered from the CDCP (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), white smokers who use menthol will account for just 34% of the population in 2020.
The tobacco industry targeted black communities with luring ads
The co-chair of an anti-tobacco PHAG (public health and advocacy group)—African ATLC (American Tobacco Leadership Council), Carol McGruder, said the disparity is the result of the age-old practice of tobacco companies promoting ads targeting black communities.
It is very difficult to quit menthol
Menthols are addictive compared to regular cigarettes. It makes it difficult for black communities to quit smoking. The rate of black smokers quitting menthol is relatively lower compared to nonmenthol smokers. According to a communiqué from CDCP, black smokers, who are addicted to menthols, are less likely to quit and less successful compared to other groups.
Jennifer Folkenroth, Senior Director (tobacco programs) of the National Lung Association, said programs to support black smokers to quit menthol across the US are underutilized. Some smokers are taking medications prescribed by their physicians to quit smoking. However, such medications are not available without counseling.
Jennifer said certified and trained facilitators in black communities must make these programs successful. So, places like churches can play a vital role in convincing black smokers to stop menthol usage. Medriva is ready to coordinate with such help groups to support black communities in their endeavor to give up smoking.
Over 45,000 people die every year
According to the information gathered from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, over 45,000 black people die every year due to smoking. The people dying due to menthol smoking include grandparents, fathers, mothers, and other black people, who play a vital role in strengthening the black community. McGruder went on to say that when we lose such people, the churches, the familial units, and the black communities are destabilized.
What causes addiction to menthols?
An associate professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, Sven-Eric Jordt, said many black people are addicted because of the improved appeal of menthol, mainly their menthol flavor. The cooling effect of menthol suppresses coughing, and it reduces the irritation of tobacco on the throat. It is easy to inhale the smoke and enjoy it.
People crave menthol when they inhale the flavor of mint. It makes them addicted to smoking another cigarette. Smokers enjoy the pleasure of smoking when the addictive chemical in tobacco binds to receptors in the brain and makes it release dopamine. Cigarettes with menthol flavor improve the dependency on nicotine. Therefore, people are addicted to menthol smoking and find it difficult to quit smoking.