Study: Tobacco Ads Target Black Americans More Than Whites
|Courtesy of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids|
Tobacco companies have been embarrassed in the past over revelations they more aggressively targeted black consumers at a time when a growing number of white consumers were kicking the cigarette habit. It appears, based on a new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, that tobacco companies have not allowed any discomfort associated with those incidents to get in the way of efforts to aggressively target the same consumers today.
Looking at advertising activity in markets, including California, Illinois, Missouri, South Carolina, Massachusetts and elsewhere, the researchers concluded that black consumers were exposed to 2.6 times more tobacco advertising than their white counterparts.
According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report, researchers counted all ads in a selected market and then determined the number and percentage of tobacco ads in relation to the racial makeup of an area. The study found that the percentage of tobacco to non-tobacco ads was 70 percent higher in black areas than in white neighborhoods.
A weakness of the study, according to the Post-Gazette, is that it uses some data stretching back as long as 20 years when, for example, tobacco billboard ads were legal. It also doesn’t factor in new forms of tobacco advertising, such as the practice of giving consumers cigarettes or merchandise in bars for adding their information to a direct marketing list.
Dr. Brian Primack, lead author of the report, told the paper, “We need to
start looking at these things.”
Discussion Questions: Do you find it plausible
that African American consumers are exposed to more tobacco advertising than
whites? Is there something “wrong” as
some have suggested in the past with tobacco companies targeting black adults?