We Want to Quit:

Supporting Cessation in

African American Communities

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Seventy percent of African Americans who smoke report a desire to quit commercial tobacco, and this is encouraging news. Yet, while this percentage is higher than that of White people who smoke, African Americans often report more failed quit attempts. There are many factors that contribute to this concerning reality, but there are also many solutions for increasing quit rates among African Americans. The Center for Black Health & Equity is proud to partner with National Jewish Health to provide The 70% resource guide for building effective cessation programs for African Americans who are ready to quit commercial tobacco for good. It is designed to assist state tobacco control managers in educating, engaging, encouraging and supporting Black Americans in their unique journeys to quit using menthols and other tobacco products.

How the FDA Menthol Ban Affects Cessation

It has been years since the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law. In its ban on flavored cigarettes and cigars, it excluded menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes. On Thursday, April 29, 2021 the FDA announced its commitment to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and cigars. This decision by the FDA is the most aggressive stance that the agency has ever taken on menthol and is a step forward toward health equity.

The FDA recognizes the importance of ensuring broad and equitable access to all the tools and resources that can help currently addicted smokers quit. This ban is a significant win, especially for the African American community. The FDA suggests that 230,000 African Americans will quit in the first 13 to 17 months after the ban goes into effect. It is an opportunity for people who smoke to be educated through messages about tobacco industry targeting, why menthol cigarettes are harder to quit, and how to stop smoking. Providing cessation resources such as Quitline counseling will be critical to the success of smokers quitting mentholated tobacco products.

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