Former U.S. Surgeons General: The U.S. Should Ban Menthol Cigarettes

February 9, 2024

a pile of used cigarettes

(STAT News) – Despite considerable progress since 1964, smoking remains a top cause of preventable death in the United States. As Surgeon General David Satcher wrote in a seminal 1998 report, tobacco use is a major cause of disease and death among certain racial and ethnic minority groups, including African Americans, who are more likely to suffer and die from tobacco-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Much of the blame should be placed on menthol cigarettes. A 2021 FDA report estimated 18.6 million Americans smoke menthol cigarettes. Because of decades of marketing in Black communities, the use of menthol cigarettes among people who smoke is not uniform. In 2020, more than 80% of Black people who smoked used menthol cigarettes, compared with just 35% of white people who smoked. (Read More)