While overall smoking rates have declined across the country, menthol cigarettes are slowing that progress.

90%

Nearly 90% of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes

Menthol makes cigarettes easier to smoke and harder to quit. The chemical compound menthol creates a cooling effect, reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke and suppresses coughing. Those effects may make menthol cigarettes more appealing to young, inexperienced smokers, and research shows that they are more likely to addict youth and more difficult to quit than regular cigarettes.

Certain groups smoke menthols at higher rates: young people, women, sexual minorities, those with mental illnesses and racial and ethnic minorities, especially African Americans. Nearly nine in 10 African American smokers use menthol cigarettes.

These groups are also targeted by the tobacco industry, which has a well-documented history of developing and marketing mentholated brands to racial and ethnic minorities.

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Infographic on the facts about menthol

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