WHEREAS, the mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate hatred and racial discrimination; and
WHEREAS, the foundation and enjoyment of all such rights begin with healthy individuals and communities; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP and all of its units are committed to the health and well-being of African Americans and are particularly concerned about preventing tobacco use among youth; and
WHEREAS, tobacco-related deaths continue to be the number one preventable cause of death, claiming 47,000 African-American lives a year; and
WHEREAS, tobacco-related deaths continue to claim more lives than violence, AIDS, car accidents, and (non-tobacco-related) cancer COMBINED; and
WHEREAS, when compared to Whites, African-American men continue to have the highest lung cancer mortality rate; and
WHEREAS, from 1968 to 1999 the lung cancer death rate for males increased by 15%, whereas for females it increased by 266%. In the 1970s the rising tide of lung cancer in women led to predictions that by the 1980s it would eclipse breast cancer as a leading cause of death. Those predictions unfortunately were realized in 1987, when lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of death in women; and
WHEREAS, in 1994, over 4,000 pages of secret documents were revealed in the United States Congress, proving that as early as 1950, the tobacco industry knew that smoking caused cancer and that nicotine was addictive; and
WHEREAS, the tobacco industry has a well-documented history of developing and marketing brands targeted to African Americans and their youth; and
WHEREAS, the tobacco industry manipulated the manufacturing of cigarettes to ensure the uptake and continued use of tobacco, especially by African-American young people and other vulnerable populations for many years; and
WHEREAS, the tobacco industry has perniciously targeted African Americans with mentholated products and as a result nearly 83% of African-American smokers smoke menthol cigarettes, compared with 24% of white smokers; and
WHEREAS, in 2006, Philip Morris (Altria), RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., British American Tobacco Ltd., Lorillard Tobacco Co., and Counsel for Tobacco Research-U.S.A. were all found guilty of federal racketeering for conspiring to hide the health effects of smoking under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, (RICO); and
WHEREAS, 88% of African-American, 51% of Asian-American and Hispanic, and 37% of white high school-aged smokers use menthol cigarettes; and
WHEREAS, mentholated and flavored products have been shown to be "starter" products; and
WHEREAS, for decades the tobacco industry has been manipulating the dose of menthol in cigarettes to ensure the uptake and continued use of tobacco, especially by young people and other vulnerable populations; and
WHEREAS, other tobacco products (including but not limited to smokeless tobacco, little cigars and cigarillos such as Black N' Milds and Swisher Sweets, blunt wrappers, electronic nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, and dissolvable tobacco products) have recently come under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"); and
WHEREAS, federal courts have upheld the authority of state and local governments to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's final rulemaking extending its authority to all tobacco products, including e cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, and other electronic nicotine delivery systems, which helps implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and supports efforts by state and local governmentsin the United States to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that legal enforcement and implementation measures should only target commercial cigarette and tobacco product manufacturers and distributers and should not target or penalize individual consumers.