The old Chappelle Show once had a great a great game show skit entitled “I Know Black People”, in which Dave would query a cross section of humanity about issues and perceived rituals of the Black community. One of the question posed is seen here, “Why do black people like menthols?” (The correct answer: “No one knows.”)
Which leads me to an interesting article in today’s WaPo: “As Trump Tackles Vapes, African Americans Fell Stung by Inaction on Menthol Cigarettes”
For decades, the tobacco industry peddled menthol cigarettes to black consumers through billboards, TV ads and magazines like Jet and Ebony, with African Americans smoking under slogans such as, “Alive with pleasure!” Tobacco companies also bought good will by sponsoring high-profile athletic and cultural events and contributing to black politicians and organizations, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the group’s foundation — contributions that critics say made black lawmakers more likely to support industry positions.
Menthol cigarettes are still popular among African Americans, 47,000 of whom die every year of smoking-related causes. But unlike the alarm over underage use of e-cigarettes — fueled in large part by the popularity of Juul among white, middle-class teenagers — neither the Trump administration nor the Obama administration have treated the devastating health effects of menthol cigarettes on the black community as a crisis.
When a health threat arises for “young white people, then action is taken really quickly,” said LaTroya Hester, a spokeswoman for the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, based in Durham, N.C. “When it’s African Americans, it just seems that people are slow to move.”.
Almost a year ago, then-Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pledged to issue a formal proposal banning menthol cigarettes, saying they “disproportionately and adversely affect underserved communities.” But with Gottlieb’s departure last spring, the administration appears unlikely to follow through anytime soon, given vociferous opposition by industry and tobacco-state lawmakers, say knowledgeable individuals inside and outside the government.
Gottlieb might have actually been the one person Trump hired that was good at his job. Also, would someone think of the kids?
A ban on flavored e-cigarettes would disproportionately affect white high schoolers because they are most likely to vape. Almost 27 percent of white teens said they were current e-cigarette users in 2018, compared to 7.5 percent of African American students, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Black students, by a small margin, prefer flavored cigars to e-cigarettes, the CDC says. The cigars, which come in versions that taste like candy and fruit, are marketed heavily in urban areas.
Gottlieb moved to ban some flavored cigars as FDA commissioner, but it’s not clear if the administration will follow through.
This just in, smoking is disgusting, kids.