Recent policy and regulatory announcements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on tobacco control—including the ban on menthol cigarettes, approval of very low nicotine cigarettes (including menthol flavor) and the on-again-off-again ban on a major e-cigarette brand—have confused many as to how the United States is addressing the harms from combustible tobacco use.

Tobacco dependence is a chronic disease. Disproportionally higher smoking rates exist in marginalized groups such as people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+); racial and ethnic minorities; people living in rural areas; and people with HIV/AIDS, to name a few. Many of these groups experience a confluence of various social and psychological factors—such as higher rates than the general population of substance use, mental health diagnoses, low socioeconomic status and poor access to care—that contribute to this disproportionate effect.

During this panel presentation, we are hoping to explore some key questions on health disparities that exist among adult smokers with a diverse panel representing experts with lived experience as well as from academic public health and drug policy. This discussion will shed light on policies, practices and norms that can help bridge the chasm of health inequities caused by smoking.


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