Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette

University of Chicago Press, 2020

Keith Wailoo, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs

Book cover: Pushing Cool

Spanning a century, Pushing Cool reveals how the twin deceptions of health and Black affinity for menthol were crafted — and how the industry’s disturbingly powerful narrative has endured to this day.

Keith Wailoo tells the intricate and poignant story of menthol cigarettes for the first time. He pulls back the curtain to reveal the hidden persuaders who shaped menthol buying habits and racial markets across America: the world of tobacco marketers, consultants, psychologists and social scientists, as well as Black lawmakers and civic groups.