As we celebrate our history, I find myself reflecting on the health of my African American community. As the director of programs at Stairstep Foundation/His Works United, we work to build wellness in our community.
The African American community has long been targeted by tobacco industry marketing. Tobacco companies have poured millions of dollars into advertising to keep youth and communities of color addicted to their products. It’s concerning to see the large number of people in my community using these products.
Smoking leads to cancers, lung and cardiovascular diseases and to many other health problems. These are health problems that affect Black people disproportionately. Among African American smokers, 88 percent smoke menthol, compared to only 25 percent of the general population. African Americans smoke more and die more because of the tobacco industry’s deadly products and marketing tactics.
Don’t let them get away with it. It’s time to stand up to the tobacco industry and work together to improve the health of the African American community.
To find out how you can help, visit www.BeautifulLieUglyTruth.org or contact me at Sylvia@stairstep.org or 612-521-3110.
Sylvia Amos is director of programs for Stairstep Foundation in Minneapolis.