By Michael Freiberg, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium
Menthol cigarettes have been used for years to target vulnerable populations and are consumed by nearly half of all youth smokers. The cooling properties of menthol reduce the harshness of tobacco and the irritation of nicotine in cigarettes. As a result, menthol cigarettes are a popular choice among those first starting to smoke. Indeed, menthol cigarettes are the source of addiction for nearly half of all teen smokers. These products are also used at disproportionately higher rates by communities of color. It is therefore no surprise that the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, the committee created by Congress in part to examine the health effects of menthol, concluded in 2011 that “removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace would benefit public health in the United States.”
By Barbara de Nekker, Legacy’s Assistant Director of Youth Activism, and Imani Bryan, Legacy’s Coordinator of Youth Activism
Young people have the capacity to enhance the quality of their lives and that of their community. Across the nation youth are spearheading movements that address issues such as AIDS, tobacco control, racial injustices, and education inequities. Their neighborhoods, community based organizations, and virtual communities are the spaces where the agendas that address social issues are set. In a country that is ripe for change and in need of innovation in the public health environment, engaging youth leaders is necessary to achieve health equity.
Latest Interactive Media
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Odds are you have a street gang in your neighborhood, or close to your home. Throughout the United States, gangs are no longer confined to the large urban communities. They're now originating and functioning in many of the smallest of towns across America. Gang members are now found to be a mixture of ALL races, cultures and ethnicities and in some cases within the same gang.
- Jul 17, 2008
No matter where you live, there are drugs in your community. They're in the smallest towns and the biggest cities. Resources to deal with the problems are scarce and are facing cuts everywhere, so are things really that different in the cities or the more rural areas? What role does geography play in the drug problem and what are the different challenges coalitions face in cities versus rural communities?
- May 24, 2008
We're all trying to raise a drug-free generation and spread prevention messages effectively. To do so, we need access to many kids at once. One great place to have this kind of access is a school. But as many coalitions have found out, getting inside a school isn't always easy. Coalitions and schools don't always work so well together and it's often difficult for the two sides to realize what frightens the other.
- Apr 30, 2008
Have you been to a town hall meeting like this: Participants dutifully arrive; the 'experts' sit at the front of the room and share their knowledge and opinions and answer a few questions from the audience, the meeting ends and everyone goes home? Citizens attend, but have little opportunity to participate. We often depend on the 'experts' telling the community. But, what if we turned it around?