Health groups are gearing up for smoking cessation campaigns aimed at Black smokers as the Biden administration moves closer to banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, NBC News reports.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 81% of Black smokers in the United States used menthol cigarettes in 2020, compared with 34% of white smokers. Menthol cigarettes are especially difficult to quit. Smokers who are Black may be even less successful at quitting than other groups, according to the CDC.
The Center for Black Health and Equity, which supports policies calling for menthol bans, is working on a project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health that is examining best practices for transportation policy. Many Black neighborhoods lack transportation to medical care to access quitting programs, according to Natasha Phelps, the organization’s director of equity-centered policies. The center is also working with communities to help push for Medicaid expansion to consistently cover the cost of cessation medications, Phelps said.
“One thing that we can all do is really help to remind the White House that there are sufficient resources out there specifically for Black people to help quit menthol,” said Jennifer Folkenroth of the American Lung Association.