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Medical News & Perspectives
June 5, 2019

Gene Variant Associated With Menthol Cigarette Smoking in Some African Americans

JAMA. 2019;321(24):2391-2392. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.5243

Among US smokers, 88% of African Americans use menthol cigarettes compared with 26% of whites, a phenomenon largely attributed to marketing practices targeting black communities. Recently, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discovered a gene variant in a fraction of African American smokers associated with menthol cigarette use. Far from exonerating the tobacco industry, however, the scientists suggest the findings, published in PLOS Genetics, point to a biological predisposition exploited by cigarette companies.