Image provided courtesy of the California Department of Health Services, Tobacco Control Section. The views expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Health Services.
Tobacco use, which is related to heart disease, cancer, and stroke are the three leading causes of premature death among African Americans, claims the lives of roughly 47,000 African Americans each year. It is linked to 63% of cancer related deaths among African American men in the United States, the highest cancer mortality rate of any gender-ethnic group. Why?
Eighty-one percent of African Americans support 100% smokefree laws in workplaces and restaurants, according to the PRAXIS Project, but African Americans still have higher rates of exposure to secondhand smoke on the job. Why?
African American youth are less inclined to smoke than other ethnicities, but they receive higher rates of cigarette offers. Why?
THE ANSWER: Tobacco industry targeting
Why the tobacco-related health disparity?
After conducting marketing tests on African Americans' tobacco preferences, the tobacco companies began targeting its mentholated cigarette brands, such as Newport, Kool, and Salem, toward African Americans. The outcome: 75% of African American smokers prefer menthol cigarettes. Studies have shown that menthol may facilitate absorption of harmful cigarette smoke constituents at greater rates, partly due to deeper inhalations.
Why the lower levels of protection on the job?
African Americans' higher rates of occupational exposure to secondhand smoke stem, in part, from the fact that people of color are disproportionately employed in factory and restaurant jobs, which have the least protection from smokefree laws.
Why the higher rates and cigarette offers to African American youth?
Clearly the tobacco companies think they have a good chance of getting a strong foothold in this market. They spend a lot of time and money developing advertising campaigns targeting the African American community. The industry has placed targeted print ads in African American-oriented publications, sponsored events, and placed outdoor billboards in neighborhoods with large African American populations. These cigarette ads feature themes the tobacco companies think will appeal to the African American community, such as references to Malcolm X. RJ Reynold's "Stir the Senses" campaign featured hip hop culture as a promotional tool. And now, Reynolds American has launched a new promotional tour for its KOOL cigarettes called the 2005 KOOL Jazz Philosophy Tour, exploiting jazz culture.
Smokefree advocates are taking action!
Smokefree advocates, led by the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN), are calling the tobacco companies out, making them publicly take responsibility for their targeted advertising.
To counter the tobacco companies, NAATPN created a direct spoof of R.J. Reynold's "Stir the Senses" campaign, which featured hip-hop music and urban culture as a promotional tool, calling their cigarettes Slay 'em, to educate the public about the tobacco company's targeted marketing tactic.
In 2004, the Attorneys General of Illinois, Maryland, and New York decided to take Brown & Williamson and RJ Reynolds to court, charging that the tobacco giants' KOOL cigarettes promotions and advertisements were a direct violation of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. The result: R.J. Reynolds agreed to significant restrictions on all future KOOL MIXX promotions.
Get involved in NAATPN's FightKOOL campaign to counter tobacco industry targeting of the African American community.
The facts show not only that the African American community is in need of protection from secondhand smoke, but also that it is supportive of smokefree air. For citations and more detailed information, read the full report.
Giovino, G.A.; Gardiner, P.S., "Understanding
tobacco use behaviors among African Americans: progress, critical gaps,
Troubling History of Big Tobacco's Cozy Ties With Black Leaders: and
the reason one of the community's biggest killers is all but ignored
Green, P.M.; Guerrier-Adams, S.; Okunji, P.O.; Schiavone, D.; Smith, J.E., "African American health disparities in lung cancer," Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing 17(2): 180-186, April 1, 2013.
Abstract: Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and globally. African Americans experience significant differences in lung cancer incidence and mortality. Smoking is the single greatest risk for lung cancer, making smoking cessation programs a potentially fruitful approach for reducing the risk of lung cancer. Despite clinical practice guidelines that prompt nurses to advise patients to quit smoking, only a small percentage of nurses do so. Minority patients are less likely than Whites to receive smoking cessation advice. This article discusses recent findings on the pathophysiology and risks for lung cancer. The literature on smoking cessation research is examined to determine the features of successful cessation interventions. Recommendations are offered for enhancing tobacco cessation efforts in nursing practice, education, and research.
insider says companies target blacks
A former tobacco industry executive said Friday in Charleston that
cigarette companies have targeted black people in America.
"My goal is to educate people in churches, schools and community centers, as well as public health officials," Wright said. She said her experience in the tobacco industry makes her better able to help people now.
"Our training stresses how Big Tobacco targets black communities.
A lot of people living in black communities don't recognize that,"
Wright said. "They targeted black communities and youth. They post
many more billboards and signs in black communities than in white communities."
Smoke Less in Teens, Catch Up by 30s
African-Americans are much less likely to smoke than whites are during their teens. However, a new study finds that most of this advantage disappears by mid-adulthood.
There is a puzzle here in that usually the health disadvantages in African-Americans show up early in life and get worse as they get older, says Fred Pampel, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. For cigarette smoking, African-Americans tend to act in a more healthy way during their teens, but that advantage goes away by middle age.
The study appears in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Pampel used data from two surveys to make his conclusions.
smoking and lung cancer: A deadly mix, especially for African American
Millions of people play the lottery. They walk into a grocery store, buy a ticket and wait for someone to announce the winning numbers. Millions of people also smoke--one in five American adults to be exact.
They walk into a grocery store and buy a pack of cigarettes. But with the cigarettes, there are no winning numbers. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), these are the "losing" numbers:
White Teens Show Differences in Nicotine Metabolism
New research by scientists with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, suggests that some of the racial and ethnic differences underlying how adults bodies metabolize nicotine also are at work during adolescence. The findings have implications for the way teens of different racial and ethnic backgrounds are provided smoking cessation treatments. The study is published in the January 2006 issue of Ethnicity and Disease.
Americans Smoke More than Whites, Study Finds
Heres some good news. White males are smoking less than they were ten years ago.
Heres some bad news. Women and African Americans have a long way to go. That is the conclusion of an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The article summarized surveys of our national health habits. The surveys provided some surprises.
Between 1994 and 2004, men quit smoking at a much higher rate than women. The number of young men who started smoking actually declined.
Rises among Poor Blacks
Unfortunately, according to a recent report published in the current issue of The American Journal of Preventative Medicine, a large number of low-income African Americans who smoke have yet to follow suit in kicking their nicotine addiction.
The report also said that cigarette smokers in the Black community are getting younger.
Though recent reports note that the overall smoking population is decreasing
cell cycle checkpoints linked to lung cancer risk in African-Americans
Faulty cell cycle "checkpoints" that fail to respond to DNA damage effectively may contribute to the high incidence of lung cancer in African-Americans, say researchers at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Their study, reported in the October 15 issue of Cancer Research, is the first epidemiological study to show the association of lung cancer risk in African-Americans and efficiency of the critical "G2/M checkpoint." While the researchers report that this checkpoint was generally less effective in the group of African-American lung cancer patients they studied, they found this risk to be especially high in African-American women and nearly a five-fold increase in lung cancer risk in women with faulty G2-M checkpoint compared to women with efficient G2-M checkpoint. The study did not found any association of this checkpoint with lung cancer risk in whites.
Smokers May Have Greater Cancer Risk
Researchers pondering the higher cancer rate among black smokers --
who tend to smoke fewer cigarettes than whites -- say that a preference
for menthol cigarettes may be the cause, the New York Times reported
Menthol May Add a Danger for Smokers
Black smokers tend to smoke fewer cigarettes than white smokers do,
How can this be? A pair of recent studies suggests that the menthol
According to one of the studies, led by Carolyn C. Celebucki of the
Part of the explanation for the difference in health risks may lie
shows new support for smoking bans: African American Tobacco Network
argues tobacco harms poor more than tobacco taxes
A large majority of residents in Minnesota jurisdictions that initiated smoking bans this spring favor the restrictions, according to polls released at the end of June.
The finding is contained in a series of surveys conducted in Minneapolis, Bloomington, Golden Valley, Hennepin County and Beltrami County in late May and early June on behalf of the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco (MPAAT).
The polls found that about 74 percent of those surveyed favor the smoking bans. They also found that more than 80 percent of those surveyed are going out as often - or more often since the bans took effect. (Star Tribune)
shows students smoke less on HBCU campuses
New study shows students tend to smoke less on Historically Black Colleges and Universities campuses.
The North Carolina Central University study hopes to find ways to help students quit smoking.
Researchers also found that white and black students start smoking for different reasons.
This year, NCCU banned smoking in dorms and students News 14 Carolina talked with seem to like the decision. . . .
In the end, researchers hope to develop programs aimed at college students to help them quit smoking for good.
This fall nearly all the state's Historically Black Colleges and Universities will take part in this initiative.