Gaining Grounds in Minority Communities
During the past decade, the tobacco industry has aggressively increased its advertising and promotional campaigns that target ethnic populations. These campaigns take positive cultural characteristics and values of various groups and manipulate them to attract and addict new smokers.
The tobacco industry targets minority populations through specifically packaged products and advertising and places these messages in ethnic neighborhoods or publications typically read by these populations. They also participate in and sponsor community-based events such as festivals and fairs.
The tobacco industry specifically markets menthol cigarettes to African Americans, which are the overwhelming favorite type preferred by this community. Over 70 percent of African American smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, compared with 30 percent of White smokers. 1
The tobacco industry specifically targets Latino consumers because they tend to be much more "brand-loyal." 2 The industry also sponsors local events, to give the impression they care about the community.
The tobacco industry also aggressively targets young Asian women. As California's Asian population becomes more acculturated, their smoking rates show a dramatic increase. 3 The tobacco industry markets products to them with misleading messages of independence and Western values, which appeal to young people who are trying to fit in to American mainstream culture.
- Gardiner, P, "The African Americanization of Menthol Cigarette Use in the United States," Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 6, Supplement 1. February 2004.
- National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations
- California Department of Public Health Data
- American Heart Association