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From Housing to Health: Imagining Antidiscrimination Provisions for Menthol Cigarette Marketing

Li, Olivia

Smoking has been decreasing steadily over the past several decades, but advertisers still target some populations for cigarette consumption. Currently, almost nine out of ten African American smokers smoke mentholated cigarettes compared to only one in four White Americans. This disparity in use came about through decades of targeted marketing efforts on the part of tobacco companies. Mentholated cigarettes are more addictive than unflavored cigarettes and lead to more lifelong smoking. Because menthol smokers have a harder time quitting, civil rights and public health advocates have long viewed the marketing practices of menthol cigarette makers as a racial injustice. This Note substantiates this notion by comparing racially targeted marketing of menthol to the racial targeting practices in the subprime mortgage market. In housing crisis-era cases centered on Fair Housing Act claims, courts found that targeting minorities to purchase predatory home loans was a civil rights violation. Drawing on reverse redlining jurisprudence under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, this Note proposes a statutory provision that would prohibit racially targeted marketing of mentholated cigarettes.

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Also Published In

Title
Columbia Journal of Race and Law
DOI
https://doi.org/10.7916/cjrl.v9i2.3413

More About This Work

Academic Units
Law
Published Here
October 31, 2019