Statement on the End of Menthol Tobacco Sales in Massachusetts

Tobacco Free Mass

Boston, MA – October 8, 2020 – A statement from Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, Chair of Tobacco Free Mass follows on the end of menthol tobacco sales in Massachusetts:

“Massachusetts banned the sale of all flavored tobacco products, standing on the side of public health and racial justice, not the tobacco industry and its profits.

“We often talk about menthol cigarettes as a youth problem because over half (54%) of young people who smoke combustible cigarettes use menthol. Because of the tobacco industry’s cynical, predatory, and persistent targeting of the Black community, the situation is even more disturbing. A full 90% of Black youth who smoke cigarettes smoke menthols – a much higher rate. This is especially troubling because there is robust scientific evidence indicating that menthol products increase addictiveness because of the impact on the smoker’s physiology and are therefore, much harder to quit.

“Menthol targeting has created serious racial health disparities in Massachusetts. For decades, tobacco companies have intentionally and systematically targeted African Americans with menthol products.  We are proud that Massachusetts has taken a stand against this injustice and acted to keep future generations from suffering the same preventable harms that so many of our fellow residents in the Commonwealth are still enduring.”