MENTHOL IS NOT JUST A FLAVOR.
Menthol makes it easier to start smoking and harder to quit.
Menthol makes tobacco products taste better and feel less harsh on the throat, minimizing the discomfort that first-time smokers experience. In addition, the cooling and anesthetic effect of menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply and hold the smoke in the lungs longer, intensifying nicotine addiction and making it harder to quit.
New York State’s It’s Not Just campaign draws attention to the strategic and ruthless marketing practices of the tobacco industry to promote menthol use as part of Black culture and as a way to make it easier for kids to start.
Learn more and join us in our effort to stop this injustice.
African American Community
For decades, the tobacco industry has aggressively and successfully marketed menthol cigarettes to the Black community. As a result, in New York State, 86% of Black smokers use menthol as compared to 36% of white smokers.
Menthol makes it harder to quit which helps explain why, even though African Americans smoke less than white smokers, they die more from tobacco-related diseases.
The tobacco and vape industries have lots of strategies to ensure a steady stream of youth customers. One of the particularly effective ways the industry attracts new youth tobacco users is the marketing of menthol tobacco products.
Menthol, along with other sweet, fruity and candy flavors in tobacco products, are used by the tobacco industry as a starter kit for kids.
For decades, tobacco companies have presented themselves as allies to LGBTQIA+ communities by representing them in tobacco ads, sponsoring Pride events, and funding HIV/AIDS organizations. The goal was to make smoking, and menthol cigarettes in particular, an accepted part of queer culture. And it worked.
LGBTQIA+ people use tobacco, including menthol cigarettes, at significantly higher rates than people who are cisgender and straight. LGBTQIA+ tobacco use rates are highest among transgender people, especially black transgender youth.