The Casualties Left Behind in Tobacco’s Cinders of Combustion
Purpose of Review
This paper (1) defines the scope of tobacco-related health disparities; (2) reviews population-based approaches aimed to eliminate disparities—Medicaid, the U.S. Preventive Health Service Task Force, and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; and (3) discusses their potential role in reducing tobacco use and lung cancer disparities.
The implementation of population-based approaches aimed to reduce tobacco use and chronic diseases has been inequitable. The poor are predominately affected by limited access to comprehensive tobacco cessation coverage. Moreover, lung cancer screenings reveal that those disproportionately excluded are African-Americans who have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality in the USA. The potential impact of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is unclear, but the proposed rule to ban menthol in combustible and not non-combustible tobacco products could potentially contribute to a cycle of addiction in disadvantaged communities. Alternative solutions, including civil rights litigation, should be investigated.
Eliminating tobacco-related health disparities is a health, social justice, civil rights, and ethical issue that deserves immediate attention and equitable policy solutions.
KeywordsDisparities Tobacco Race Ethnicity Civil rights Smoking
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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