Uproot the Truth

Uproot the Truth

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With social justice issues being at the forefront of recent public discussion, Tobacco Free Florida is launching Uproot the Truth to inform individuals about tobacco’s devastating effect on the state’s Black population, unearthing the root causes of this important public health issue.

 

Note: Tobacco Free Florida uses both Black and African American in content. To maintain accuracy, the term used matches the original data source, since communities and populations vary.

THE ORIGIN

Big Tobacco’s targeting has had lasting negative consequences on the Black community.

Tobacco companies have historically placed larger amounts of advertising in African-American publications, exposing African Americans to more cigarette ads than white Americans.[1]

  • The tobacco industry has also heavily marketed and promoted menthol cigarettes to the Black community for years, using culturally tailored advertising images and messages.[2],[3]
  • Marketing of menthol products includes efforts like supporting cultural events and making contributions to minority higher education institutions, elected officials, civic and community organizations and scholarship programs.[4]
  • Menthol products are given more shelf space in retail outlets within African-American neighborhoods.[5]
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THE EFFECTS

The tobacco-related health impacts on the Black community are devastating.

Tobacco use is a major contributor to leading causes of death among African Americans: heart disease, cancer and stroke.[6], [7], [8]

  • African Americans usually smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking at older ages, but are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases compared to white Americans.[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14]
  • People in the Black community may hesitate to seek care because they distrust healthcare systems, which have been responsible for inequities in treatment.[15]

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HOW TO GET INVOLVED

We must take action to rectify the societal imbalance that is the toll of tobacco use on the Black community.

Educating our communities about these issues is the first step in empowering individuals with the knowledge needed to make change. Outlined below are some ways that you can get involved.

Engage your local community groups about the toll of tobacco use on the Black community by:

  • Distributing materials to local organizations to share with their members.
  • Holding events alongside local groups to further increase awareness.
  • Distributing materials to community members and leaders.
  • Stopping by local community groups and simply starting a conversation.
  • Empowering community members to encourage local elected officials to discuss policies that can help combat tobacco-related injustices against the Black community.

 The following are examples of groups that can help support these efforts:

  • Barber shops and beauty salons
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Neighborhood coalitions

Higher education institutions are another key element to fighting tobacco within the Black community.

This can be achieved through:

  • Educating local fraternities, sororities and student unions about the toll of tobacco use on the Black community by attending chapter or student meetings.
  • Empowering students to engage the school’s administration regarding implementing smokefree and tobacco free policies.

Professional networks, employees and employers can also do their part in combating this important social justice issue.

This can be achieved by:

  • Engaging influential groups, such as leadership councils, business roundtables or professional organizations, to bring awareness about the toll of tobacco on the Black community.
  • Working with local policymakers to discuss policies that can help combat these injustices.
  • Implementing tobacco free workplaces.

Healthcare providers are another important group when it comes to addressing these social justice issues and being a champion for your community’s health. 

Healthcare providers can:

  • Talk to their Black patients about the toll of tobacco on the overall health of the Black community.
  • Encourage patients to quit and refer them to our free, proven-effective Quit Your Way tools and services.
  • Keep flyers and handouts in their office for any patients who request additional information.

For more information about how we can team up to help your patients quit, visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/healthcare.

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1998. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[2] National Cancer Institute. The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph No. 19, NIH Pub. No. 07-6242, June 2008. Accessed July 21, 2020.

[3] Food and Drug Administration. Preliminary Scientific Evaluation of the Possible Public Health Effects of Menthol Versus Nonmenthol Cigarettes [PDF–1.6 MB]external icon. 2013. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[4] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1998. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[5] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1998. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[6] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1998. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[7] Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Final Data for 2014 pdf icon[PDF–2.95 MB]. National Vital Statistics Reports, 2016;vol 65: no 4. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[8] Heron, M. Deaths: Leading Causes for 2010 pdf icon[PDF–5.08 MB]. National Vital Statistics Reports, 2013;62(6). Accessed September 14, 2020.

[9] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1998. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[10] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths: Final Data for 2013, Table 13 [PDF–1.67 MB]. National Vital Statistics Reports. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2013. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[11] Heron, M. Deaths: Leading Causes for 2010 [PDF–5.08 MB]. National Vital Statistics Reports, 2013;62(6). Accessed September 14, 2020.

[12] Schoenborn CA, Adams PF, Peregoy JA. Health Behaviors of Adults: United States, 2008–2010 [PDF–3.21 MB]. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(257). Accessed September 14, 2020.

[13] American Lung Association. Too Many Cases, Too Many Deaths: Lung Cancer in African Americans [PDF–1.68 MB]. Washington, D.C.: American Lung Association, 2010. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[14] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004. Accessed September 14, 2020.

[15] Institute of Medicine. 2003. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17226/10260. Accessed February 19, 2021.

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