Scientific studies have found menthol flavoring to make cigarettes more addictive than tobacco-flavored products. According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), companies often target vulnerable populations when marketing menthol-flavored cigarettes, which have been found to increase a child’s chances of trying cigarettes.
“Fewer people now smoke cigarettes than in recent decades, but the proportion of people who smoke and use menthol cigarettes has increased, particularly among population groups that experience tobacco-related disparities,” the CDC reported. “The tobacco industry aggressively targets its marketing to certain populations, including young people, women, and racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly Black people. These groups are more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes compared to other population groups.”
An estimated 40% of excess deaths due to menthol cigarette smoking between 1980 and 2018 within the U.S. were experienced by African Americans, despite African Americans only accounting for roughly 12% of the population. In 2021, nearly 80% of children age 6 through 12 that reported using tobacco products used flavored products, such as menthol.