African-American youth engagements with tobacco and nicotine products are juristically increasing. Unfortunately, tobacco suppliers are specifically targeting African-American youth as major consumers, and this is evident in their marketing strategies. Statistically, New Mexican African-American youth who engage with tobacco and nicotine products are 26.0% of this demographic according to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Early engagements with tobacco and nicotine can result in health risks, and can lead to more addictions later on in life.
For generations, the tobacco and nicotine industry has intentionally targeted vulnerable and disadvantaged people for their own profit. This is demonstrated by David Goerlitz, a R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company employee, who quoted his company executives, “We just sell it. We reserve that right for the young, the black, the poor and the stupid.” Ultimately, our communities must collaboratively develop critical action plans to disengage youth with tobacco and nicotine amid corporate greed that create health disparities.
This spring, I have joined Community Health Charities on a Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation (TUPAC) project under the NMDOH to address this issue and to raise a greater awareness. The NMDOH has prioritized the state’s African-American population to develop an action-network to address this preventable problem.
On Thursday, May 23, 2013, join a public forum with youth, community leaders, and policy-makers to address this issue. This forum is open to the community and will be used to develop a report for the NMDOH and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to identify and craft solutions to break community barriers. In fall 2013, this report will then be used by the NMDOH to inform their work.
It is critical to have as many youth as possible to attend this forum. Please forward this to your youth network. Dinner will be provided to all participants. In addition, monetary assistance can be provided as means of attending and interpretation accommodations can be made upon request.
· Who should attend: Students, Educators, Parents, and Community and Faith Leaders
· Where: African American Arts Performing Arts Center: 310 San Pedro Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM
· Date: May 23, 2013
· Time: 5:00 pm
Thank you in advance for joining this initiative. For more information, please contact me, Devont’e K. Watson, at 202-643-4465 or at email@example.com
Yours in Advocacy for Community Development,
Devont’e K. Watson