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.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), and the DC Tobacco-Free Coalition are fighting back and calling on the international human rights body, CERD, to ask the United States to protect all Americans from menthol and in turn protect all Americans’ right to health.
Why This Joint CERD Report is Crucial
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.