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American Flag Hanging Outside of the White House
Press Statement January 12, 2024

NAACP Supports 23 Senators in Letter to Biden Administration Urging a Menthol Ban

American Flag Hanging Outside of the White House


January 12, 2024 

Contact: Alicia Mercedes,


WASHINGTON — Today, the NAACP, along with leading health advocates, signed on in support of a letter sent to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young voicing concerns about the Administration's continued delay on banning menthol tobacco products. The letter, which was sent by 23 senators, re-emphasizes continued calls for the Administration to fulfill their promise on banning all menthol flavored tobacco products.

Patrice Willoughby, NAACP Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Impact shared the following statement:

"The relentless predatory marketing of menthol-flavored cigarettes employed by the tobacco industry has inflicted devastating consequences on Black communities. Our message remains clear - if the Biden Administration truly cares about Black lives, they will act swiftly to ban menthol-flavored tobacco products. Menthol cigarettes continue to claim the lives of countless Americans and ruin the health of many more. We reject Big Tobacco selling death in our communities because health is integral to the wellbeing of Black communities. Enough is enough. The Administration must stand up to Big Tobacco and take action now."

Excerpts from the letter include:

"We are extremely concerned that the rule is now expected to be released in March 2024, which is two years after the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) April 2022 announcement of the proposed rule. Likewise, we are also awaiting a final rule to ban all flavors in cigars, a proposed rule that was also announced in April 2022"

"Big Tobacco has also aggressively targeted minority communities, particularly the African American community, through efforts at the point of sale, branding, and sponsorship to push these products. As a result, among individuals who smoke, nearly 85 percent of African Americans use menthol cigarettes, compared to 47.7 percent of Hispanics, 41.1 percent of Asians, and 30.3 percent of whites." 

Full text of the letter can be found here.

For over two decades, the NAACP has led the call for a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes because we recognize the tobacco industry's long standing quest for profit at the expense of Black lives. The Association remains committed to fighting for the prioritization of Black Americans' health and well-being, holding our elected officials accountable, and ensuring our community remains informed. 



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

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