Big Tobacco is using all of its resources to attack and overturn California Senate Bill 793, which limited the sale of flavored tobacco, in order to profit from the lethal addiction of Black and young smokers. This is the latest step in their long, racist history of poisoning our communities. 

Big Tobacco continues to profit by destroying Black lives — from 400 years ago to today. 

Tobacco’s roots started in the blood and death of enslaved people and grew to addicting Black Americans and leaving generations plagued by terminal tobacco-related medical issues. That is why Black Americans experience higher death rates than any other group from tobacco-related diseases. 

Since the 1960s, they have used targeted marketing to ensure Black communities, especially Black youth, get hooked on sweet menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. Big Tobacco knew what it was doing and sought to create generations of addicts.

They succeeded.

Currently Black Americans experience higher death rates than any other group from tobacco-related diseases like cancer and heart disease. And that cycle continues as an estimated 1.5 million Black Americans started smoking due to menthol cigarettes between 1980 and 2018.

Black Leaders Against Tobacco Injustice is comprised of leading voices in the fight against the predatory practices of the tobacco industry. 

The aim of this council is to position these vocal advocates in media and press to do the following: 

  • Educate communities of color about the risks to their own health and health and future of their kids from tobacco use. 
  • Create allies in the medical community, political sphere, and general public. 
  • Mobilize key constituencies, stakeholders and the vulnerable populations targeted by Big Tobacco. 
  • Shine a light on the tobacco industry’s 400-year history of slavery, racism, micro-targeting and profiting off of Black bodies and death. 

This committee of Black leaders will be instrumental in helping to generate media exposure and momentum to thwart the tobacco industry’s agenda.