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Addressing Health Disparities in Tobacco Use

Commercial tobacco use remains the leading cause of death in Michigan, killing more people each year than drug overdose, alcohol, auto accidents, murders, suicides, and HIV combined. 

Tobacco companies primarily target their advertisements to people of color, minority groups, and youth. 

  • Marketing aimed at communities of color led to an increase in menthol use among African Americans. 
  • Today, close to 90% of African American smokers use menthol products, compared to only 5% in 1950. 
  • African Americans suffer the greatest burden of tobacco-related death of any racial or ethnic group in the United States.


Visit Health for All Washtenaw for local tobacco use data.


Menthol flavoring in cigarettes makes them easier to inhale, which makes it easier for new tobacco users to start using tobacco products and harder for current tobacco users to quit.

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COVID-19, Smoking and Vaping

Scientists are still learning about COVID-19, but we know that smoking weakens the immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight disease. It also damages the lungs, increasing the risk of infections. 

Smoking, Vaping & COVID-19 Factsheet

More Information and Resources