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Press Release

Young Activists Join with truth® to Demand Action on Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars

Youth and young adults deliver digital petition during in-person meetings with the White House and Congressional members

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In an effort to encourage the Biden Administration to finalize and implement the Food and Drug Administration’s menthol and flavored cigar rules, youth and young adult activists from across the country came together this week in the nation’s capital to raise their voices in support of swift action. As part of the annual Moment of Action with truth®, the national public education campaign from Truth Initiative, young people met with the White House and decision makers on Capitol Hill. In addition to being a social justice issue, young people use menthol cigarettes at disproportionally high rates, with more than 40% of youth smokers choosing menthol, according to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey. While in D.C., the young activists demanded the Biden Administration put people over politics in the name of public health.

The Moment of Action rallied young people across the country, both on the ground and online. Twenty-seven youth and young adult activists came to Washington, D.C., to meet with the White House. They also participated in 35 meetings with decision makers on Capitol Hill to call for the White House to finalize the proposed menthol and flavored cigar rules. Concurrently, young people across the country participated in a truth digital campaign, which included signing an online petition and engaging with a series of social videos outlining the devastating impact that menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have had on Black communities. The videos feature young activists – Jordan and Bryce – speaking with senior leaders in the Black community, including Rev. Horace Sheffield III and Mignonne C. Guy, PhD. Since the petition’s launch, nearly 800 young people have added their names, demanding that the White House act to save lives.

Moment of Action 2024

“Removing menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars from the market has potential to advance health equity, protect our nation’s youth, and save lives,” said Amy Taylor, Chief Development and Engagement Officer at Truth Initiative. “We are honored to stand beside these young people to lift up their voices on this important issue and to demand action. We hope that the White House and Congressional leaders listen to them, because they are speaking on behalf of the next generation.”

Menthol cigarettes are easier to smoke, more difficult to quit, and have long been identified as a gateway product to nicotine addiction. Studies show that youth and young adults are more likely to try a menthol cigarette as their first cigarette and, as a result, are more likely to continue smoking. They have been marketed by the tobacco industry to specific communities, particularly Black Americans and the LGBTQ+ community, fueling health disparities. As a result, Black Americans accounted for 41% of premature deaths attributable to menthol cigarettes between 1980 and 2018, despite representing only 12% of the population. Additionally, nearly 75 percent of youth cigar smokers cite preferred flavors as their reason for choosing to use cigars. Furthermore, flavored cigars are disproportionately used by Black Americans and other underrepresented groups, highlighting the tobacco industry's unrelenting targeting practices toward certain populations.

“I wanted to become a truth Ambassador because I saw the effects of menthol cigarettes and tobacco use in my community,” said Jordan, a truth Ambassador and participant in this year’s Moment of Action. “I’m proud to be in D.C. for the Moment of Action to raise awareness about the dangers of these products and take our message to our elected officials about the importance of keeping these products out of our stores and our communities.”

Resources to help those looking to quit

Truth Initiative provides support and resources designed specifically for young people to help them quit through its award-winning and lifesaving nationally recognized truth campaign. More than 700,000 young people have enrolled in This is Quitting from truth — a free and anonymous text message quit vaping program for teens and young adults. A randomized clinical trial found that young adults aged 18-24 who used This is Quitting had nearly 40% higher odds of quitting compared to a control group. For help with quitting vaping, teens and young adults can visit or text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 for free resources. Additional quit resources – including those specific to menthol cigarettes – are available at

*You'll get daily texts full of advice and support from experts and other quitters just like you. Enter your mobile number to get started. By clicking SUBMIT, I agree I'm cool with receiving emails and texts from truth and agree to the Terms & Conditions. Text STOP to opt-out. Expect texts daily. No purchase necessary. Msg & Data Rates May Apply.

Take action and learn more

In addition to urging young people to share their stories, truth is also inviting young people to turn their activism into art. The #MentholNotCool Art Challenge is an opportunity for young activists to use their creativity to show support for the menthol rule. Until April 12th, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 can submit their original art for the chance to win a gift card and have their work shared with decision makers. Learn more and submit an original artwork here.

Anyone can join truth in taking action to address tobacco in their own communities. To learn more or join the petition, visit

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