publication date: Jun. 9, 2017

Aggressive marketing transforms tobacco use into social justice issue, report states

By Claire Dietz

Tobacco use should be addressed as a social justice issue, according to a recent report by Action on Smoking and Health.

“Aggressive industry marketing targeted at African-Americans, Native American, and the LGBTQI community and others has resulted in a disproportionate level of the overall tobacco burden being borne by those who can financially least endure it,” states a report released for World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

While smoking prevalence has decreased nationally over the past two decades, tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. Tobacco accounts for one in four deaths daily—for a total of 480,000 annually—and costs the U.S. economy more than $300 billion a year, the report states.

Nepal, India, Thailand, and 102 other countries require tobacco companies to print images depicting lung and oral cancer and other tobacco-related diseases on over 80 percent of cigarette packages on the market. The U.S. ranks 205th in a 2016 Canadian Cancer Society report, which examines requirements for pictorial warnings on cigarette packages in 205 countries.
“The U.S. will be embarrassed to report on progress made toward these global goals,” Laurent Huber, executive director of ASH, said in a statement. “Americans are less protected than much poorer countries, despite spending more on health care.”

Nationally, about 15 percent of adults smoke, down from nearly 50 percent in the 1960s. However, progress has been far from uniform. The following demographics smoke at much higher rates:

Racial minorities i.e. Native Americans (21.9%, or 1 in 5 of Native Americans)

Marginalized groups, including the LGBTQI community (23.9%, or 1 in 4 LGTBQI adults)

Poor communities with lower levels of education (In Washington D.C. … Continue reading Aggressive marketing transforms tobacco use into social justice issue, report states

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