What is Menthol Tobacco?
Menthol is an ingredient produced synthetically or found organically in plants of the mint family. Its cooling properties, which make it a popular additive in toothpaste, cold remedies, and peppermint candies, also reduce the harshness of tobacco smoke and the irritation of nicotine in cigarettes. As a result, menthol cigarettes are a popular choice for those first starting to smoke.
Why is Menthol Added to Tobacco Products?
- Menthol makes smoking easier and more attractive
- Menthol intensifies addiction
- Menthol makes it harder for smokers to quit for good
Tobacco manufacturers have used menthol cigarettes for years to target vulnerable populations. In fact, according to national surveys, menthol cigarettes are the source of addiction for nearly half of all teen smokers.
On July 23, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a scientific report that menthol cigarettes pose an even greater risk to public health than regular cigarettes because menthol-flavored cigarettes are more addictive and harder to quit. These products are disproportionately targeted to youth and minorities.
What’s Happening Locally to Reduce Menthol Use?
The City of Duluth has an opportunity to pass an ordinance that will restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol, to adult-only tobacco stores on February 12th. If passed, this ordinance will strengthen our community by preventing targeted advertising of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products to priority populations, including youth.
Please participate by contacting Duluth City Council members and urge them to support this ordinance, which will help protect our children and address the targeting of priority populations by Big Tobacco. To email all Duluth City Councilors, you can send to: email@example.com.
In the email, please include your name, address and the statement “I support the ordinance to restrict the sale of flavored commercial tobacco products, including menthol, to adult-only tobacco stores”. If you have a personal story of why you support the ordinance then please include that too and ask the councilors to Vote Yes on February 12 in favor of the ordinance.
You may also send a Letter to the Editor via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The letter should be under 300 words, signed with your full name, address, and phone number. You can also show your support by attending the Duluth City Council meeting on Monday, February 12 at 7PM.
You can find more information at: http://countertobacco.org/resources-tools/evidence-summaries/menthol/
You can find images of tobacco industry menthol advertising at: https://trinketsandtrash.org/search_results.php