Vulnerable populations include: financially disadvantaged, minorities, uninsured, children, elderly, unsheltered, and people with chronic and mental illnesses who lack resources and opportunities that most Americans have, are targeted by the tobacco industry.
Studies show that menthol tobacco products are used more by youth, women, the LGBTQ+ community, those with a mental illness, and racial/ethnic minorities.
The tobacco industry markets menthol by sponsoring community and music events, advertising in community shops and stores, and using displays and images that youth respond to.
Research regarding menthol tobacco use amongst socially and economically disparate groups reveal menthol is preferred by:
- 36% of LGBTQ
- 54% of youth ages 12-17 years
- 70% African American youth ages 12-17 years
- 76.8% of non-Hispanic black adults
There is a need for more research on menthol use amongst those with mental illnesses. Still, studies reveal a connection between high menthol tobacco use and severe mental hardships, and those who smoke menthol cigarettes have worse mental health than those who do not use menthol products.