FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 20, 2020
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Black Leaders and Public Health Advocates Release New TV Ad Responding to Million Dollar Campaign of Lies From Big Tobacco
Sacramento, CA – Today, the coalition of organizations who have come together to pass SB 793 (Hill), a bill that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products in California, unveiled a new TV ad to respond to Big Tobacco’s record-breaking million-dollar deceitful media blitz that is swamping legislators in Sacramento. Featuring spoken-word art from SixFootah the Poet, the breakthrough piece shows the devastating toll menthol cigarettes take on Black lives.
Inspired by an Op-Ed from Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, SixFootah says, “How do I explain to my child that their life means nothing to you? Because if it did, their future would have the same protection as the kids in the suburbs do.”
The tobacco industry has a decades-old marketing campaign targeting African Americans with menthol cigarettes, leading to Black Americans dying from heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and other tobacco-related diseases at rates far higher than whites.
The ad running in the Sacramento market pushes back on Big Tobacco’s strong-arm tactics to push legislators into opposing SB 793 and their history of dumping millions of dollars on slick and misleading ad campaigns that preyed on communities of color and used minty-sweet menthol to hook generations of young people of color to a lifetime of nicotine addiction and death from tobacco-related disease.
“We can’t match Big Tobacco’s money, but we have passion and the truth – tobacco companies only care about profits they can make off the lives and health of the Black community,” said Phillip Gardiner, Dr. P.H., Co-Chair African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. “Legislators must not be deceived into voting against SB 793. We cannot go another year without taking action to protect the next generation of Black lives from deadly nicotine addiction.”
Black leaders across California support SB 793, including Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), California State Board of Equalization member Malia Cohen, State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.