Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Study: Exploring race, menthol smoking, and cessation.

Before discussing the new study we will provide a little background on menthol, particularly in African American communities. As recent at 2005, it has been reported that nearly 75% of African American smokers use menthols (compared to 30% of white smokers). This is no coincidence- the tobacco industry manipulated the marketing of menthol cigarettes throughout the sixties and seventies. It has been well documented through industry documents that the Brand Kool was changed to appeal to a segregated, urban population of African Americans (See abstract of study) . Kool was viewed as new, hip, and healthy.This industry manipulation has lead to a disproportionately high incidence of tobacco-related death and disease within African American communities. It has been shown that targeted marketing is highly effective. With this background let's examine the study.

Drs. Gunderson, Delnevo, and Wackowski released a study that examined the issue of menthol, race, and cessation.Utilizing data from the 2005 US National Health Interview Survey they found a few key points:

  • African American/Black  and Lation menthol smokers were less likely to have quit smoking 
  • Supports the idea that menthol smoking can decrease success of cessation efforts, but only for Black and Latino menthol smokers. 
Want to know more? The tbest factsheet that clearly outlines the issue of tobacco disparities related to African Americans can be found at Tobacco-Free Kids. The best factshet that shows how the tobacco industry has unjustly manipulated the African American market is here

Nationally there is the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, which is fighting back against unjust targeting of communities of color. In Wisconsin we have a statewide network that is working reduce the burden of tobacco within African American communities. 

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