For Immediate Release
December 17, 2023
Contact Information

Sherelyn Weber

(BPRW) NMA Statement on FDA Ban of Menthol Cigarettes

Delay In Menthol Cigarette Ban: Black Americans Deserve Better

(Black PR Wire) Statement attributable to: Yolanda Lawson, MD President, National Medical Association

“Menthol cigarettes have been proven by decades of research to be a deadly and addictive tobacco product that disproportionately affects Black communities. Health care advocates, including many Black physicians, have worked tirelessly toward a ban of these products. Menthol enhances the effects of nicotine in brain function, making it highly addictive. Smoking especially harms Black communities and other vulnerable groups, and the tobacco industry must be held accountable for its direct marketing to Black adults and youth with ongoing campaigns since the 1960s.”

The National Medical Association (NMA) advocates for the FDA ban on menthol cigarettes as part of our crucial mission to eliminate health disparities that disproportionately affect Black communities. The CDC estimates that 40% of premature deaths due to menthol cigarette smoking in the U.S. from 1980 to 2018 were Black Americans. Black men have the highest rates of lung cancer fatalities.

It is imperative to put this ban in place now. Otherwise, the potential delay would be needless and would only benefit tobacco companies. Banning menthol cigarettes would save 654,000 lives within 40 years, including the lives of 255,000 Black Americans. The ban also would help the Biden Administration accomplish its Cancer Moonshot initiative. The act to approve this ban is critical and necessary for the overall betterment of racial equity within public health policy.


About the National Medical Association:

The NMA is the nation's oldest and largest organization representing Black physicians and health professionals in the U.S. and promotes the collective interests of physicians and patients of African descent. We serve as the voice of Black physicians and a leading voice for parity in medicine, elimination of health disparities and promotion of optimal health. To learn more about the NMA, please visit

Source: National Medical Association