There is a movement underway in Minnesota--including right here, in Duluth--to restrict the sale of menthol, and flavored tobacco.
It's an effort on the minds, and agendas of city leaders, and school boards. It's also on the minds of business owners who sell these products, and customers who prefer menthol over non-flavored tobacco.
Now, you might be asking yourself: "why menthol?"
According to our first guest in this week's "Beyond the Headlines," there are several reasons--ranging from racial disparities, to the allure it has on young users.
Dr. Phillip Gardiner holds several titles, including Co-Chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. The following is an excerpt pulled from a biography about Dr. Gardiner, provided to KBJR6 by spokespeople for the American Lung Association:
"Dr. Gardiner received his Doctorate in Behavioral Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley, where he focused on Youth Violence as a public health issue. Throughout his research career, Dr. Gardiner has maintained his community activism to address racial disparities in health, through writing, organizing, evaluating and public speaking. For the past 15 years, Dr. Gardiner has lectured around the country on African American health disparities generally and menthol smoking in the Black Community, particularly. Currently, Dr. Gardiner is the UC Smoke and Tobacco Free Fellowship Awards Program Officer for the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), University of California Office of the President. Another focus of Dr. Gardiner is the Triangulum; the intersection between tobacco, marijuana and electronic cigarettes, the latter being the delivery devise for the two before mention drugs and others. Also for the TRDRP, Dr. Gardiner stays abreast of development of new tobacco products (IQOS / Heat-not-Burn, etc.)"
Pat Mckone is the regional senior director of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, and joins Dr. Gardiner, along with Duluth School Board Chair David Kirby, to discuss the push to restrict menthol and flavored tobacco sales to adult only tobacco stores.
In September, the Duluth School Board unanimously approved a resolution aimed at lowering the businesses allowed to sell flavored tobacco products.
The campaign "Lethal Lure" was created by the American Lung Association. The effort is aimed at reducing products such as menthol and other flavored tobacco commodities that appeal to young people.
For the in-depth interview, watch the video link this week's episode of "Beyond the Headlines."