Menthol cigarettes have been historically heavily marketed toward Black Americans. And that's had a strong enough impact that when the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes yesterday, the agency specifically noted that the move would save the lives of 92,000 to 238,000 African Americans.
"It's a long time coming," said Keith Wailoo, author of the book Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette. In 1964, federal regulators barred tobacco companies from advertising to their key youth demographic. That meant no advertising on college campuses. [...]