The Tobacco Industry Targets Black America

This post, written by Mart1704, originally appeared on Brave New Films

Black people; lend me your ear. Wait...this is actually good information for everyone.

I know you thought you were already on the look out for all your potential assassins. The bigots, the racial profilers, poverty, crime, police brutality, discrimination as a result of affirmative action... But an old but new threat has emerged in a vile and nasty form - Big Tobacco and it's little sister menthol. Don't laugh, I'm serious.

Even while anti-smoking ads are on the rise; in low income neighborhoods of all races, smoking has remained pretty much the same. But what is alarming is that young, black adults...are smoking tons of Newport Menthols. Why? Because their advertising is everywhere! That's why. "It appears the industry is targeting the most vulnerable groups through advertising and manipulation of menthol levels..."

I remember when I was little, driving through the 'hood with my mother. There was literally a "500 Liquor Store" on every other corner. But it was a nightmare trying to find a grocery store. When you DID find a grocery store, soda was $.50 a bottle, but milk was $1.95! Things haven't changed! Why do you think the nutrition and health epidemic is such an issue in low income neighborhoods? Poor people everywhere are being poisoned with that garbage because it's accessible and cheap. But I digress.

"Lorillard Tobacco Company, maker of Newports, said its marketing was directed at "all adult smokers," although 51 percent of Newport buyers are blacks."

And the advertising is slick, very sexy, geared towards hip hop and flashy in color. Young couples and sexy girls hanging out, being athletic, having fun, kissing -- all while smoking menthol cigarettes.

Then there are Black & Mild cigars that come in yummy flavors like cream, wine and apple. 24% of black 18-24 year olds in Baltimore surveyed said they smoked a Black & Mild at least once in the past 30 days.

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