Tobacco is not an equal opportunity killer. Minority populations suffer greatly from tobacco because of lack of access to care, lack of education, and ruthless tobacco marketing tactics.
Nearly 1 out of every 4 LGBTQ+ adults call themselves smokers. Tobacco companies will overtly advertise their products at Pride events, touting a pro-LGBTQ+ message despite one company’s past unsavory campaign to market to them called Project Scum. Researchers theorize that LGBTQ+ individuals may turn to cigarettes to deal with stress caused by societal stigmas and disparities.
Studies have found that African American communities have a higher density of tobacco retailers than any other minority group. African Americans have an 18% higher risk of dying of cancer compared to their white counterparts. Native American populations suffer especially because they have the highest smoking rates out of all racial groups. Rates can vary to be as high as 50% depending on a tribe’s location. Most cases of lung cancer, the second leading cause of death in Native Americans, are caused by smoking.
But the tobacco industry isn’t satisfied with only targeting adults in minority populations. Studies have also found that minority communities have a higher density of tobacco retailers near schools, which makes youth more likely to experiment with tobacco. “Loosies”, or individual cigarettes sold cheaply, are more likely to be found in minority community tobacco retailers, despite being illegal.
Let your legislators know you wont stand for Big Tobacco’s predatory tactics of making minorities in to target practice. Click here to find your local legislator and let them know they need to help reign the tobacco industry in by restricting numbers of tobacco retailers in minority areas and preventing tobacco sales near schools.