Considerations for Tobacco Programs for African American Populations
The tobacco industry has long focused on African American populations as an important market
segment. This history
is important when considering African American populations' attitudes towards tobacco and interventions focused on
cessation. Today, African American people are more likely to die from smoking-related
illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke than White people.
Menthol tobacco products, in particular, are heavily
marketed in African American communities and sold at a lower price point in those areas. Menthol is
associated with folk medicine, and thus some people
believe menthol tobacco is less harmful. Tobacco control programs and policies targeting menthol tobacco
products are needed.
Additionally, African American children and adults are more likely to be exposed to secondhand
smoke than other populations, identifying an important opportunity for interventions focused on
secondhand smoke exposure. Contributing to this, African Americans are less
likely to be covered under smoke-free workplace policies.