My first report for "Scientific American" is the lead news story on the magazine's digital platform: "Can Chicago Curb Menthol Smoking among African American Youth?"
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration launched its first nationwide anti-tobacco campaign targeting youth in February. The “Real Cost” campaign targets the estimated 10 million 12- to 17-year-olds “who are open to trying cigarettes or who are already experimenting with them,” according to the agency. But many public health advocates say it is “too little, too late” to address the popularity of highly addictive mentholated cigarettes among African American youth. Some municipalities are taking matters into their own hands. Chicago has emerged as a national leader.
Chicago became the first city in the nation to pass a sales ban on menthol cigarettes in December. Sales will be banned within 500 feet of schools as of June 2014. The move comes after national research and a local task force found evidence that menthol cigarettes—especially Lorillard’s Newport brand—are disproportionately promoted and sold at “predatory” lower prices near schools in low-income black communities.
More reporting at "Scientific American" in the coming months on science, medicine and tech. My thanks to editors for their support and encouragement. Many thanks to: Alicia Phoenix Matthews, PhD., at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing; Bechara Choucair, M.D. commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health; and Brian Richardson at DoH.