For decades, the tobacco industry has targeted African American communities and demographics with menthol cigarette ads, according to allegations and research from various health and safety groups. Indeed, even internal documents from numerous Big Tobacco companies have all but said it blatantly that this strategy was deliberate and effective. According to the Truth Initiative, the targeting was so effective that about 90% of all African American smokers today use menthol cigarettes.
Beyond the moral complications of this predatory targeting, why is it such a problem that Black communities were lured into smoking menthol cigarettes, rather than any other type? It is well known by health specialists that putting menthol in cigarettes makes it easier to hook kids on cigarettes and also makes it more difficult to quit. In other words, African Americans were targeted with menthol cigarettes that were even more dangerous and addictive than regular cigarettes, and the Big Tobacco tactics are still happening to this day, according to published reports.
The United States government is now stepping in, with the Food and Drug Administration recently proposing a ban of menthol cigarettes. This proposal has been applauded by groups including the NAACP, which has advocated for a ban on menthol cigarettes for many years.
With so many people and families affected by menthol cigarettes, the potential number of claimants could easily range into the tens or hundreds of thousands. Potential legal options, depending on the laws in various states, include consumer class actions and tobacco-based lung cancer cases.
Levy Konigsberg is one of the country’s most trusted and reputable tobacco litigation law firms. We assist clients nationwide with difficult claims and class actions against corporate giants like Big Tobacco. Currently, we are paying attention to the developing stories of Big Tobacco and its ads that targeted Black communities. Check out our blog often for any important updates regarding this ongoing story. If you have been victimized and exploited in this way, then we would like to hear from you. Please fill out an online contact form today.