Disparities in Tobacco Use
Are Arkansans at particular risk from tobacco use? The data suggests that the answer is yes. Arkansans suffer a higher degree of death from heart disease than the national totals. And the incidence of death and disease among African-American and Hispanic individuals in this state is disproportionately higher than in the Caucasian population.
Overall, tobacco use for African-Americans and Hispanics has been on the rise since 2006, with huge jumps seen in the male Hispanic population. Each year, approximately 45,000 African-Americans die from a smoking-caused illness and suffer disproportionately from smoking-caused chronic and preventable diseases. Today, an estimated 1.6 million African-Americans under the age of 18 will become regular smokers – and about 500,000 of them will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.
Moreover, there is compelling evidence that tobacco companies advertise disproportionately in communities with large African-American populations, with advertising specifically targeted to these communities.