Tobacco Industry & Targeting

 

Tobacco companies disproportionately target the most disadvantaged.

 

Tobacco is still the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. The tobacco industry spends over $25 million per day to keep current users hooked and entice new users to initiate.

Point of sale tobacco marketing disproportionately affects specific demographic groups such as youth, racial and ethnic minorities, and individuals of low income or education. These more vulnerable groups are targeted by tobacco companies through aggressive advertising, targeted marketing, and increased presence of tobacco retailers in their neighborhoods and recreation areas. Examples of the predatory nature of tobacco advertising includes:

  • Price promotions (special prices or offers, discounts, or multipack sales) that target low income and youth individuals who have limited budgets.
  • Higher percentage of tobacco retailers near schools and low income neighborhoods.
  • Increased number and variety of tobacco advertisements in low income and minority neighborhoods, which can increase desire to smoke and create social norms.
  • There are over 7,000 flavors of electronic cigarette nicotine liquids, most of which are flavors such as chocolate, bubble gum, vanilla cupcake, etc.- flavors designed for youth.

When looking at some of the targeting tactics used, it is no coincidence that the rate of tobacco use is much higher in certain populations. National trends for tobacco use include:

  • Minority individuals are more likely to die from tobacco related deaths than their white counterparts.
  • Low income individuals are nearly 2 times as likely to smoke, compared to those at or above the poverty level.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18, and 99% first tried smoking by age 26.

Here in Lincoln County, a small, rural community, we find similar tobacco advertising tactics as we see nationally.The result is high rates of early tobacco use among our youth that continues into adulthood and leads to high rates of chronic health conditions in our community. Here are some Lincoln County tobacco facts and demographic information that explains more about the similarities of tobacco advertising at the national level versus the local climate of Lincoln County:

Lincoln County Facts:

  • Lincoln County has a 33% tobacco use rate, the highest in the Oregon.
  • Tobacco can lead to chronic disease and already 65% of adults in Lincoln County have one or more chronic disease costing an average of $70,400 per person per year.
  • Approximately 17% of Lincoln County’s population is below the poverty line.
  • 1 in 4 Lincoln County mothers smoke while pregnant and is highest among Native American mothers, a traditionally targeted group.
  • 9 out of 10 tobacco retailers sell flavored products targeted at youth in Lincoln County.
  • About 10% of Lincoln County 11th graders smoke cigarettes regularly and more than 15% use other types of tobacco products regularly.

Overall one can see the connection between high poverty areas, high tobacco use, and advertising rates. By targeting minority populations with more advertising, tobacco companies blatantly show how they prioritize profit over the community’s social and economic well being.

Local Tobacco Prevention and Education Programs are designed to aid in combating tobacco company predatory tactics. If you would like to know more about the local Lincoln County Tobacco Prevention and Education Program and initiatives, contact Samantha Schafer at 541-265-6611 ext. 3281.

If you or a loved one is looking for cessation resources please contact the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-877-2NO-FUME (1-877-266-3863) or visit www.quitnow.net/oregon/