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Lose Big Tobacco Sponsors, Black Groups Urged
June 01, 2004
It's your choice - and mine - whether or not to smoke cigarettes. But that doesn't mean advocacy groups and other non-profits shouldn't urge smokers to quit, and kids to never start.
The San Francisco African American Tobacco Free Project wants to get local and national black organizations to stop taking charitable donations from tobacco companies because their
....products are the No. 1 killer of African Americans. Smoking-related diseases kill an estimated 45,000 African Americans a year. But since the 1960s, cigarette manufacturers have worked to endear themselves to the black community by underwriting groups like the United Negro College Fund and the National Urban League.
Tobacco companies defend their practices.
'Whatever donations we make or contributions we do is in light of the fact that we have consumers in those communities,' said Brown & Williamson spokesman Mark Smith.
That they do.
...McGruder said Brown & Williamson is guilty of marketing flavored cigarettes sporting names such as Mocha Taboo and Caribbean Chill, directly at young blacks.
The Urban League and The United Negro College Fund are hardly the only groups facing dilemmas posed by coporate underwriting, but ought to show some backbone here. We all need a push sometimes, to exercise our free will intelligently. The intense marketing of cigarettes to blacks will continue, and the silence of leading black organizations about the ills of smoking should not be negotiable.
Posted by Matt Rosenberg at June 1, 2004 05:11 PM
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