Collection: African Americans & Multiracial
The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting the African-American community. It has successfully marketed its product to African-Americans through market research, aggressive advertising with special products, imagery and themes, and sampling.
The “industry’s investment” in the community has led to this population suffering the greatest burden of tobacco related mortality of any ethnic or racial group in the United States. 1
While electronic cigarette (e-cig) companies have not yet developed specific campaigns targeting this population, there are a number of ads that feature African-Americans. In many of these ads, African-Americans are shown as successful individuals and leaders.
The ads also feature critical moments in the history of America. For instance, an ad for Fin, is of an empty diner that is an eerie reminder of a time of segregation. In February 1960 a group of black students from A&T North Carolina College were refused service because they sat in seats reserved for white people. The slogan accompanying the ad says, “Welcome Back?” An ad for Green Smoke contains the image of Martin Luther King as he prepared to give his famous, “I have a Dream” speech.
Another way that e-cigs are following in the step of combustible tobacco companies in targeting African Americans is through the sales and promotion of mentholated products. Almost all the major e-cig companies offer mentholated cartridges and vape juices.
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. 1998.