Today we’re celebrating Black History Month by recognizing the African American tobacco control leaders who have been battling tirelessly to end the death and disease caused by the tobacco industry’s relentless and targeted marketing of menthol cigarettes to the black community.

These champions include Dr. Phillip Gardiner and Carol McGruder, Co-Chairs of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), and Dr. Valerie Yerger, a founding member of the Council and faculty at UC San Francisco. There are countless others. Together, they elevated awareness of the disproportionate impact of tobacco use on African Americans and successfully advocated for policies that will save black lives. AATCLC is currently suing the FDA to follow their own science and ban the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco products. They are joined in their lawsuit by Action on Smoking & Health and the American Medical Association. AATCLC’s efforts also led the way for a bipartisan group of twenty-three Attorneys General to recently appeal to the FDA to ban the sale of menthol-flavored tobacco products.