We are not profit

One of my most favorite public service organizations is Tobacco Free California. They have been diligently and effectively working for years to rid our state of the atrocity that is smoking. Here is a hard-hitting message about menthol cigarettes and their targeted effect on African American communities.

For too long Big Tobacco has been strategically killing the Black community with menthol cigarettes. It’s time to make things right. We already know they hang more ads in black neighborhoods, and offer more discounts in those local stores. But here’s what you may not know – Big Tobacco is co-opting Black community voices to keep these deadly products on the market by exploiting issues that truly matter to our community, all so they can protect their bottom line.

Say NO to flavored smoke: SB 793

I’ve always hated cigarettes and Big Tobacco, but looking at their track record, I can’t help but think that their shareholders, CEO, and board members are Satan on Earth. Other than the users of these products who suffer grave consequences, non smokers are affected just as much by second hand smoke. That fact alone is just evil. But, Big Tobacco knows no bounds. Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 793 a few weeks ago (alongside SB 145), which will take effect in 2021. SB 793 crucially bans the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

Flavored tobacco products, including vapes (which are still loaded with nicotine) have primarily targeted youth, ruining their lives with nicotine addiction and health complications that arise from its usage, especially in children. Menthol cigarettes on the other hand, target African Americans. Apparently, Big Tobacco has aggresively targeted predominantly black neighborhoods, especially via menthol cigarettes. The price of menthol cigarettes in black neighborhoods bore reduced price tags. There is increased advertising, and even free samples in these areas. 68% of African American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes, versus the 19% of menthol users among white smokers. This ban not only will save future lives, but it will start to save lives now.

Smoking doubles the risk of contracting respiratory infections, and doubles the risks of serious complications from sickness, especially COVID-19. (That’s a 400% increase of misery.) In youth and young adults, the chances of contracting COVID-19 increase 5-7 fold. One day, I hope for the outright ban of smoking everywhere except in totally isolated areas. Everyone would be happy: Nonsmokers aren’t psuedosmokers, and the smokers can happily burn their cash and their health, if they already didn’t understand the grave consequences or didn’t take any effort to quit.