Tobacco use has been found to be one of the primary drivers of cancer-related health disparities because its use disproportionately impacts people based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, mental health, income level, education level, and geographic location. Achieving health equity relies heavily on eliminating tobacco use. ACS CAN is pursuing fact-based tobacco control policies at the local, state and federal levels that aim to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for everyone.
The Tobacco Industry is Not the Public Health Solution
Big tobacco has a history of prioritizing corporate profits over people and communities burdened by tobacco-related illness and death.[i] Tobacco industry marketing strategies have led to disparities in tobacco use, including higher use of tobacco products in limited-income communities, among people of color and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.[ii] For example, tobacco industry memos revealed a 1990s R.J. Reynolds cigarette marketing plan, known as “Project Subculture Urban Marketing,” that targeted marketing at gay men and individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.[iii] For decades, the tobacco industry has lied to specific communities and the public at large saying their products are not addictive, harmful or deadly. Tobacco manufacturers continue to create and flood the market with newly designed products they market as being less harmful and alternatives to quitting – a tactic that is not new.
[i] Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, The Verdict Is In: Findings from United States v. Philip Morris, The Hazards of Smoking (2006). Retrieved from https://publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/tclc-ver....
[ii] Stevens P, Carlson LM, Hinman JM. An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Marketing to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Populations: Strategies for Mainstream Tobacco Control and Prevention. Health Promotion Practice. 2004;5(3_suppl):129S-134S. doi:10.1177/1524839904264617.
[iii] Washington HA. Burning Love: big tobacco takes aim at LGBT youths. Am J Public Health. 2002 Jul;92(7):1086-95. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.7.1086. PMID: 12084686; PMCID: PMC3222279.