To the editor:
As we work to eliminate racial and health inequities, we cannot forget about tobacco use. For decades, Big Tobacco has intentionally targeted low-income, racial, and ethnic communities, spending millions of dollars annually to market deadly, addictive products.
Today, smoking remains highest among communities of color, LGBTQIA+ and lower-income groups, increasing their risk for chronic illnesses like cancer. Black men are more likely to be diagnosed and die from lung cancer than any other population.
It’s imperative we reverse these statistics, and we know that one of the best ways to reduce tobacco use is by clearing store shelves of all flavored tobacco products. Similar to the way menthol cigarettes have been used for decades as a gateway to tobacco use, now candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products such as e-cigarettes are being used to entice the next generation into addiction. In Minnesota, 7 in 10 youth say they use e-cigarettes “because they come in flavors I like.”
Join me and other American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteers in asking our legislators to improve health care and protect vulnerable communities from tobacco use by ending the sale of flavored tobacco in Minnesota.
Lois Raboin Conn
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network