"We don’t smoke that s_ _ _. We just sell it. We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and stupid.”
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Executive
Back in the 1950s, the manufacturers of Newport menthol cigarettes literally handed free cigarettes out to Black children in low-income housing trying to hook new smokers. Sixty years later, a new study shows that the same company is using racial profiling to sell cut-rate menthols to Black high school students.
Through aggressive marketing in Black communities (60% more than in other communities) and the specific marketing of menthols -- which have been shown to be more addictive than non-menthol cigarettes -- Big Tobacco is creating a steady stream of lifetime smokers in the Black community, and killing millions.
Chad Bullock is a 22-year-old social entrepreneur who started organizing against Big Tobacco after cigarettes killed his great-grandfather. He knows that the only way to curb Big Tobacco's voracious appetite for profit and Black lives is to ban menthols completely. The FDA is considering just such a ban now, and Chad has started a petition supporting a complete ban on menthol cigarettes in the United States.
Sign Chad's petition to get the FDA to stop Big Tobacco from preying on Black communities by banning menthol cigarettes.
Chad has trained over 50,000 teenagers across America to be anti-tobacco advocates and regularly organizes cigarette butt clean-ups. The nonprofit organization Chad founded, HelloCHANGE, shares Chad's youthful story of inspiration born out of the loss of his great-grandfather, and has secured thousands of pledges from young people to never start smoking.
The FDA successfully banned fruity flavored and clove cigarettes in 2009 after they were shown to encourage children to pick up smoking. But because of the massive tobacco lobby in Washington, menthol cigarettes were specifically excluded from the ban. Former secretaries of Health and Human Services or Health, Education, and Welfare and a former Surgeon General have called for a menthol ban and described the menthol exception in 2009 as "caving to the financial interests of tobacco companies and discriminating] against African Americans."
It's time to end the scourge of menthol cigarettes in Black communities across the U.S. Sign Chad's petition calling on the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes now:
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Cristina and the Change.org team