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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: Develop and pilot test a school-based smoking prevention intervention for African American (AA) youth built upon principles of counter-marketing.
Methods: In Phase I, online tobacco industry documents (available through www.tobaccodocuments.org) were searched to identify examples of local, state, and national references to the marketing of mentholated cigarettes and other tobacco products to AAs and youth. In Phase II, focus groups were conducted with AA students in Grades 6-8 attending 1 of 4 middle schools located in DC Wards hardest hit by cancer, and serving some of the District's most socioeconomically disadvantaged AA youth.
Results: The resulting Phase I categories included: (1) an aggressive focus on recruiting new smokers via industry studies of youth culture, (2) an aggressive focus on understanding regional differences affecting smoking uptake, maintenance, and brand loyalty via industry studies of AA culture, (3) a prominent investment in AA community, ethnic, and cultural events to enhance the industry's image, (4) an aggressive targeting of lower income smokers and youth in urban areas to make smoking affordable, and (5) an aggressive targeting of AA's via geography and urbanicity. Phase II revealed that the sample had low levels of awareness of the tobacco industry's targeting and marketing tactics. Being informed of these tactics produced negative affect, feelings of social injustice, and a desire to effect anti-tobacco and pro-health change at the individual, local, and societal levels among students.