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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

RE-CONSIDER EVIDENCE IN MENTHOL DEBATE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

THE NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND, NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN TOBACCO PREVENTION NETWORK AND THE AFRICAN AMERICAN TOBACCO CONTROL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL JOIN LEGACY® IN URGING GROUPS TO RE-CONSIDER EVIDENCE IN MENTHOL DEBATE



WASHINGTON, DC -- As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) weighs the evidence on the deadly impact of menthol cigarettes, three African American organizations have spoken out against a potential ban, urging the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee to consider the negative implications of a ban and to discount any unsubstantiated evidence on menthol. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) have expressed concerns that evidence to support a ban is inconclusive and a dangerous "black market” for menthol products could develop due to the ban.
Legacy, who was an early proponent of a menthol ban, respectfully disagrees. We join the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN) and the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) in a collective call to ban menthol as an additive in all tobacco products. We are advocating for a close review of the existing data that shows not just disproportionate marketing to and use of menthol products in African American populations but also a higher overall rate of tobacco use and lower quit rates (http://www.thedefendersonline.com/2010/10/15/lorillard%E2%80%99s-orwellian-assertion-slavery-is-freedom/).
An estimated 45,000 African Americans die annually due to tobacco related illness. A ban on menthol could result in major improvements in overall public health through lower youth and minority smoking rates and higher adult quit rates.
Legacy hopes that these groups reconsider their stance on this issue in light of the science.

"It is a national disgrace and a tragedy that these lethal menthol products have been allowed to be marketed so disproportionately to African-American youth – or to any youth for that matter,” said John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "The FDA should help millions of Americans avoid tobacco-related death and disease by banning menthol flavoring in cigarettes.”

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