Black Americans have been intentionally targeted by the tobacco industry for decades. As a result, nearly 9 out of 10 of African Americans that smoke, smoke menthols.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) includes requirements to ensure that all people have the right to public health. Tobacco violates numerous human rights, but most notably, the right to health. The U.S. has ratified CERD, so CERD is U.S. law.
The U.S. Federal Government shares the responsibility with state and local governments for protecting Americans’ human rights. Tobacco companies targeting the Black community with menthol cigarettes infringes on their right to be free from racial discrimination, as well as harming their health.
Below are resources for public health advocates to use to link tobacco, menthol, and human rights, in order to convince local, state, and even the federal government that they must protect us from tobacco companies and their deadly menthol flavorings.
For information on our 2021 submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the harms of menthol in the United States, co-signed by 97 organizations, please visit this page.