The Tobacco Action Coalition of the Finger Lakes is working to spread the word about the dangers of menthol. The organization says products are marketed toward specific communities, like LGBTQ+, causing disproportionate rates of death and disease.
“The ‘It’s Not Just’ campaign is to raise awareness to the inequitable marketing tactics of menthol to specific targeted communities,” said TAC Program Director Shana Carter. “Right now we are focusing on the LGBTQ+ community, but this campaign has been rolled out over three phases because there is also targeting toward youth and the African American population.”
In New York, Carter said, the average new smoker is 13 years old, and one in four high school students are already vaping. Carter said menthol makes tobacco easier to get hooked on and more difficult to quit.
“So the marketing tactics are working,” she added. “We want to bring awareness and start a conversation in our community as to these tactics so people know that they are targeted.”
Wayne County specifically is a place where there is a lot of tobacco use according to the TAC, with a 20% user rate.
“In this county, you’re double the New York State smoking rate,” Carter said. “That’s a concern.”
Carter urged those who are using tobacco products to look for support here.
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].