Big Tobacco has a history of targeting underserved communities.
It’s true. Big Tobacco has been targeting low income neighborhoods, African Americans, and the LGBTQ community for decades. Their tactics take on many forms, but a go-to seems to be making smoking look overwhelmingly positive in ads that feature people in these groups — particularly members of the LGBTQ community.
For instance, Big Tobacco appropriated gay culture by using “pride” to promote a deadly product and has glamorized smoking in ads featured in LGBTQ magazines.
It’s almost as if Big Tobacco is trying to position itself as an ally. Which…seems awesome, right? Except when you consider that 1 in 4 LGBTQ individuals smoke. And in the US, 540,000 people die a tobacco-related death every year. Increasingly the visibility and presence of a deadly, addictive product among LGBTQ youth doesn’t exactly seem like something a friend would do, does it?
A major tobacco company has even sponsored LGBTQ events, like Pride.
And last year, another big tobacco company visited a Pride festival to hand out coupons for cigarettes priced at $1 per pack. That’s five cents a smoke, and pretty much as close to “free” as you can get.
Big Tobacco is working hard to get and keep the attention of the LGBTQ community.
As a people who already face adversity, we’re pretty sure they’ve had enough love from Big Tobacco. Is it a coincidence that Big Tobacco is showing up for the LGBTQ community? Or is it profiling?