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NAACP delegates endorse push to say no to menthols

NAACP delegates made history Tuesday during its annual convention when delegates to its legislative session adopted a resolution supporting efforts at the state and local level to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, specifically citing Big Tobacco’s well documented history of targeting African American communities.

The resolution to support state and local restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products, a copy of which was obtained by Truth Initiative®, noted that the NAACP was “committed to the health and well-being of African-Americans” and “particularly concerned about preventing tobacco use among youth.” It cited the fact that “tobacco-related deaths continue to claim more lives than violence, AIDS, car accidents, and (non-tobacco-related) cancer COMBINED,” including 47,000 African American lives each year and the “well-documented history of developing and marketing brands targeted to African Americans and their youth.”

The resolution expressed support for bringing all tobacco products under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and for “efforts by state and local governments in the United States to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.”

More than 88 percent of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes.

The resolution now moves to the NAACP Board of Directors for possible ratification in October, at which point it would become official NAACP policy to endorse efforts to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

“We congratulate the NAACP leaders who adopted this resolution, who recognized Big Tobacco’s history of targeting the African American community and who positioned the organization as a leading voice in the fight to end tobacco use. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death among African Americans. We look forward to the NAACP Board of Directors ratifying this in October,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative.