Buffalo Black Nurses Inc. Joins Tobacco Kills NY to Push for Statewide Ban of Flavored Tobacco Products

Group Joins Growing List of Supporters Across the State

BUFFALO, NY (03/13/2023) (readMedia)-- Tobacco Kills NY – a diverse, statewide campaign of civil rights and health advocates, including the NAACP, faith-leaders, public health groups, and others – announced today that Buffalo Black Nurses Inc. has joined the growing list of supporters who are pushing for a statewide ban of all flavored-tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

"Big Tobacco spent decades targeting and hooking Black communities with their deadly products, including menthol cigarettes. And that impact has been detrimental on our communities: in the past 40 years, over 150,00 Black folks have died prematurely due to menthol related illnesses," said Rhonda Wilson, CEO/President of Buffalo Black Nurses INC. "We must do all that we can to protect future generations of Black children, and that starts with ending the sale of flavored tobacco here in New York."

New York State made great strides to prevent youth tobacco use by restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in 2020–but the new regulations still allowed other dangerous flavored tobacco products known to increase addiction to continue to be sold. Menthol cigarettes, which are much easier to smoke and more addictive than regular tobacco, are still available on shelves and the number one way Big Tobacco hooks young smokers and keeps Black New Yorkers addicted.

For generations, Big Tobacco has aggressively marketed flavored tobacco products to underage users and communities of color, creating disproportionately negative health outcomes for African-Americans in particular. In New York State, menthol cigarettes are used by over half of all adult smokers (52%). 86% of Black smokers and 72% of Hispanic smokers smoke menthols. Now 62% of Americans support a ban on menthol, including two-thirds of Black Americans. Half of young people (ages 12-17) who had ever tried smoking start with menthol cigarettes. In 2021, 41.1% of high school smokers reported using menthol cigarettes.

Supporters of Tobacco Kills

African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Nurses Association - New York, The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area, Brooklyn College Cancer Center, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Center for Black Health & Equity, Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Community Health Care Association of New York State, Community Healthcare Network, Healthy Alliance. Hispanic Federation, Interfaith Public Health Network, March of Dimes, Medical Society of the State of New York, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mental Health Association in New York, Montefiore Health System, Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Center, NAACP New York State Conference, New York Chapter American College of Physicians Services, Inc., New York Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, New York Public Interest Research Group, New York School-Based Health Alliances, NYS Academy of Family Physicians, NYS American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapters 1, 2, & 3, .NYS Association for Rural Health, NYS Association of County Health Officials, New York State Conference of Blue Cross, NYS Association of County Health Officials, New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans (NYSCOP), NYS Council of Health-system Pharmacists, NYS Council of School Superintendents, The NYS Neurological Society, NYS PTA, NYS Public Health Association, NYS School Boards Association, NYS Society of Anesthesiologists, NYS Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Inc., The NYS Society of Plastic Surgeons, NYS United Teachers, NYU Langone, Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes, Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, Public Health Solutions, School Administrators Association of New York State, St. Peter's Health Partners, VIP Community Services, WNY United Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Inc, and Blue Shield Plans (NYSCOP).