February The percentage of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen dramatically over the past 50 years. In the s, smoking was widely accepted: An estimated 42 percent of Americans were regular smokers. As evidence mounted that tobacco was linked to cancer, heart disease, and other serious health problems, policies were enacted to reduce smoking. Attitudes began to change and the prevalence of smoking gradually diminished.
Menthol is a flavor additive commonly used in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Federal law currently prohibits the manufacture and sale of flavored cigarettes, with the exception of menthol. One in three Minnesota high school smokers use menthol; 2 overall 25 percent of adult smokers use menthol. From to , as the use of non-menthol cigarettes by youth and young adults declined, the use of menthol cigarettes among these groups increased or remained constant. Menthol makes experimentation easier because it can mask irritation from smoking. It has a minty taste and smell and produces cooling and numbing sensations that reduce the harshness of cigarette smoke.
Cigarette Smoking Among Low-Income African Americans: A Serious Public Health Problem
Approximately 4. Among high school students, white teens are more likely to smoke than their black or Hispanic peers. Source: Johnston, L. Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use.
Young people, in particular, are still very much at risk. Every day in the United States more than 2, youth under age 18 smoke their first cigarette, and nearly youth under age 18 become daily smokers. The Real Cost aims to reach an estimated 10 million kids ages 12 to 17 who are open to smoking or already experimenting with cigarettes.