CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city leaders met on Wednesday to discuss the toll tobacco is taking on certain communities.

Local anti-tobacco advocates say tobacco advertising in Charleston is predatory and are calling on council members to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored tobacco products within city limits.

Representatives from the North Charleston organization, “Breathe East Tri-County” voiced their concerns during a Wednesday meeting with the city’s Health and Wellness Committee.

Council discussed how tobacco advertising targets children and the rising levels of e-cigarette vaping in schools.

Now, they are looking for ways to combat young people starting to use tobacco products. But other leaders say the advertising disproportionately also targets Black communities.

“This is not only a public health issue – it’s a social justice issue. It’s an issue where the most poorly equipped group of people as it relates to health – African Americans – are being preyed on by a major conglomerate – in this case, the tobacco industry,” said Dr. Phil Gardiner, Co-chairman, African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council

Mayor John Tecklenburg said during the morning that Charleston follows state law regarding tobacco sales, but will check with his legal team about implementing a city ordinance.