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How new tobacco laws could help close the racial gap in lung cancer deaths

This interactive examines how nationwide bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as proposed by the Biden administration could help shrink the racial gap on U.S. lung cancer death rates.

We assess and illustrate how the proposed FDA ban on menthol cigarettes could affect U.S. cancer inequities had they gone into effect in 2021. We find that the ban, if implemented effectively, would indeed close the disparity in U.S. lung cancer death rates due to smoking between Black Americans and other U.S. racial and ethnic groups.

Without that ban, the gap between lung cancer death rates for Black Americans and other U.S. racial and ethnic groups are not projected to close until 2050. With the FDA ban, the gap closes in 2025— twenty-five years sooner—and continues to fall from there, cutting smoking attributable lung cancer death rates in half for Black Americans.

See “How New Tobacco Control Laws Could Help Close the Racial Gap on U.S. Cancer” by Olivia Angelino, Thomas J. Bollyky, Elle Ruggiero, and Isabella Turilli on the Council on Foreign Relations website (February 1, 2023)

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