Our goal at ASH is to protect everyone from the harms of tobacco. One way we strive to achieve that goal is by reducing health inequities and fighting for everyone’s right to health.
In honor of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), here are some of the ways ASH is working towards that goal for you.
Lawsuit against the FDA
ASH, with our partners at the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, the American Medical Association, and the National Medical Association, sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for it’s inaction on menthol cigarettes.
The decades of well-documented racialized and predatory tobacco industry targeting of African Americans, specifically with menthol flavoring, is a human rights issue and has resulted in nearly 9 in 10 (88.5%) African Americans who smoke using menthol cigarettes.
We are thrilled that an FDA rule regarding menthol is now in progress: an important step towards protecting African Americans.
Report on menthol to CERD
ASH led 120 organizations in submitting a report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The United States was up for review by this committee (which happens approximately once every 5 years).
We used this opportunity to draw the committee’s attention to the social injustice and health inequities caused by the predatory marketing of menthol cigarettes to African Americans.
CERD General Recommendation 37
In Summer 2022, the CERD committee began work on what they are referring to as “General recommendation 37.” The committee is developing a General Recommendation that will provide an authoritative interpretation of the CERD Article that addresses the right to health. It will help countries implement measures at the national level to protect the right to health in the context of racial discrimination.
ASH has been involved from the beginning to ensure that the negative impacts of tobacco on health are included in this conversation. We will stay engaged until the recommendation is complete, and we encourage other advocates to get involved as well!
As President Biden stated, “Advancing equity is not a one-year project, it is a generational commitment that will require sustained leadership in partnership with all communities.”