We Are Not Profit

COVID-19 Update
Experts now warn that smokers run greater risk of suffering COVID-19 complications.
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Our Loss Is Their Profit. But We’re Fighting Back.

For too long Big Tobacco has been strategically killing the Black community with menthol cigarettes. It’s time to make things right.

You already know they hang more ads in our neighborhoods, and offer more discounts in our stores. But here’s what you may not know – Big Tobacco is co-opting Black community voices to keep these deadly products on the market by exploiting issues that truly matter to our community, all so they can protect their bottom line. Scroll for more.

For too long Big Tobacco has been strategically killing the Black community with menthol cigarettes. It’s time to make things right.

You already know they hang more ads in our neighborhoods, and offer more discounts in our stores. But here’s what you may not know – Big Tobacco is co-opting Black community voices to keep these deadly products on the market by exploiting issues that truly matter to our community, all so they can protect their bottom line. Scroll for more.

Manipulation And Deceit

Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), the second largest tobacco company in the US and maker of Newport cigarettes, the best-selling menthols in the US, infiltrates our community without us knowing it by giving money to Black organizations, and using them to spread misinformation about how local bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, work.* Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), the second largest tobacco company in the US and maker of Newport cigarettes, the best-selling menthols in the US, infiltrates our community without us knowing it by giving money to Black organizations, and using them to spread misinformation about how local bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, work.*

Big Tobacco hosts a town hall meeting

Looks like justice. Look again.

Big Tobacco pays Black leaders to be part of community events that are disguised as events addressing the criminal justice system and decriminalizing the Black community, exploiting community concerns about this important issue. In reality, these events mislead the community about how restrictions on the sale of menthol cigarettes work.*

In this community town hall flyer, it looks like National Action Network (NAN), a civil rights organization, is hosting the event, but look at who’s really behind it.*

Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) is really behind this event, paying for the travel costs of the panelists and making contributions to the panelists’ organizations. But RAI buried their name on the flyer and made it look like NAN was the main sponsor of the event – why? Because, RAI is using Black voices to lure people to the event to spread misinformation about menthol cigarette sales bans to protect Big Tobacco’s bottom line.*

Town hall panelist, LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership), is one of the many organizations that accepts money from Big Tobacco and advocates for what the tobacco industry wants – to keep deadly menthol cigarettes on the market.*

Op-ed article by a member of LEAP

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"...speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a nonprofit of law enforcement officers who want to improve the criminal justice system."

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"To draw up a ban – which could result in criminal consequences – only against products favored by people of color seems not only unjust but also remarkably insensitive..."

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"I oppose criminalizing menthol tobacco along with other flavored tobaccos because this ban would disproportionately affect Black and Brown people..."

Follow the money

Op-ed article by a member of LEAP, an organization that takes Big Tobacco money and advocates for Big Tobacco’s bottom line.*

LEAP uses their speakers to oppose menthol sales bans while taking tens of thousands of dollars from Big Tobacco.* They falsely claim that once a menthol sales ban goes into effect, it will criminalize people who are in possession of menthol cigarettes.

The truth is, nearly all California cities and counties with flavored tobacco policies that ban the sale of menthol cigarettes are thoughtfully written to ensure that users of menthol cigarettes and vapes cannot be punished.*

Nearly all local flavored tobacco policies in California penalize retailers who sell tobacco for selling menthol cigarettes. These local policies fine or suspend tobacco retailer licenses if there’s a violation.*

Big Tobacco Flyer

More lies

Big Tobacco’s flyer claims e-cigarettes are the real flavored tobacco problem, but deceptively leaves out important facts about how menthol cigarettes have devastated the Black community.

This flyer is pro-menthol propaganda created by Reynolds American (RAI). Big Tobacco wants you to believe that menthol cigarettes aren’t a real problem, but they have been preying on our community for decades, leaving disease and death in its wake.

Tobacco kills more African Americans annually than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides COMBINED.* The flavored tobacco issue isn’t just about protecting kids, it’s about saving the lives of our community. Bottom line: Big Tobacco cares more about their pockets than our lives.*

Menthols are a deadly flavored tobacco product.* That doesn’t need to be compared to e-cigarettes to know it’s wrong.

Learn more about Big Tobacco’s history with menthol cigarettes.

How can the tobacco industry care about criminalization when they don’t even care about killing you?

- LaTrisha Vetaw, health policy and advocacy manager at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center

Learn More

COVID-19 UPDATE

Experts now warn that smokers run greater risk of suffering COVID-19 complications. Cigarette smoke interferes with cells and airways, putting basic lung function on the line. And menthol smoke is designed to go even deeper. We continue the fight to get menthol out of our community.

Get help quitting

The Truth

Big Tobacco knowingly sentences us to lifetimes of sickness, disease, and early death.* They don’t see our beauty, our individuality, or our rich history – only how rich we can make them. Big Tobacco knowingly sentences us to lifetimes of sickness, disease, and early death.* They don’t see our beauty, our individuality, or our rich history – only how rich we can make them.

Menthol has taken my heart, and ripped it out, with no remorse.
What Menthol Has Taken From Me
Six Footah the Poet
To think about how many ways they have specifically reached out to us… it makes me so upset.
Real Artists Speak the Truth About Menthol Cigarettes
Yazmin Monet Watkins
The menthol makes it easier to smoke because you’re not feeling the harmful effects. But those harmful effects are still there.
Menthol Cigarettes 101
Danami-Maurice Champion
For decades the tobacco industry has infiltrated Black communities and institutions.
Black Lives/Black Lungs
Ritney Castine
Big Tobacco targets us because they think we are just easy money. They get cash, we get killed.
We are not Profit
Vultures target dying things. I’m used to our community being targeted by people looking for money.
Big Tobacco Preys On Us
Kito Fortune
When I first learned the ways in which Big Tobacco targets our communities, I was enraged.
They See Us As Easy Targets
Yazmin Monet Watkins
When you try to put something in a specific community, that will harm them, you don’t care about them.
They Don't Care About Us
Cram Nory B.
It’s frustrating to me that menthol cigarettes and Big Tobacco is making money on African Americans and low income communities
Goapele Talks About How Big Tobacco Took Her Father
Goapele

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Stopping Big Tobacco has required the hard work and dedication of so many. These are our friends in the fight to end the tobacco industry’s targeting. Stopping Big Tobacco has required the hard work and dedication of so many. These are our friends in the fight to end the tobacco industry’s targeting.

OUR PROGRESS IS ACCELERATING

See which California jurisdictions are protecting citizens with strong flavors policies that prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco, including menthol. There is still work to be done to drive Big Tobacco out of our neighborhoods. Find out if you’re protected. See which California jurisdictions are protecting citizens with strong flavors policies that prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco, including menthol. There is still work to be done to drive Big Tobacco out of our neighborhoods. Find out if you’re protected.

2010-2017
2018
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2020

17 Policies

SEE FULL LIST

Voice Your Concern

Send an email, make a difference.

Reaching out to your mayor can create change. Enter your name, choose your city, and we’ll connect you to the right email to make sure your letter makes the most impact. Reaching out to your mayor can create change. Enter your name, choose your city, and we’ll connect you to the right email to make sure your letter makes the most impact.

Dear Mayor ,
My name is
from

I’m outraged by the devious tactics Big Tobacco uses to target Black communities. We refuse to be victims of the predatory practices Big Tobacco uses to profit off our suffering. Currently, smoking-related illnesses kill more Black people than AIDS, car crashes and murder combined. That means while they’re making profits, we’re being killed.

Since the 1960’s, they have intentionally sold menthol cigarettes at discounted prices near schools that Black students attend in order to acquire new customers. The impact on my neighbors, family, and friends has been devastating. Tobacco companies flood our neighborhoods with a deadly and addictive product — menthol cigarettes. Even worse, menthol cigarettes numb the throat, allowing longer drags, absorbing deeper into the lungs.

We deserve more than to be treated like an easy paycheck for the Big Tobacco’s endless greed.

I am reaching out to you today because I can no longer stand aside and watch Big Tobacco destroy my community with deadly products and I implore you to act.

Sincerely,

THE FDA BANNED FLAVORED CIGARETTES,
BUT NOT MENTHOLS

Why? Because Big Tobacco lobbied hard for a loophole in the ban and kept menthol on the market. It’s time to take action. Why? Because Big Tobacco lobbied hard for a loophole in the ban and kept menthol on the market. It’s time to take action.

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