ELKHART, Ind. – This is an ongoing conversation in Elkhart County, as numbers continue to rise at worrying rates for the sale of tobacco products, especially among minority groups and teenagers. For Minority Health Coalition, it is not only the disturbing effects of these products, but also their targeted advertisements.
This is referred to as “point of sale” marketing, where the marketing targets consumers in retail establishments. This includes tobacco advertisements, discounts on tobacco products and tobacco displays. The point of sale is important because it encourages teens to start smoking and makes quitting much more difficult.
Specifically, tobacco companies continue to rely on menthol in their products. The calming and cooling effects make cigarettes more appealing to new smokers, teens, and minority groups.
Tara Morris of Minority Health Coalition says this marketing is the biggest concern for nonprofits.
“Marketing in general,” says Morris, managing director. “Thus, it encourages individuals to smoke menthol cigarettes by targeting the minority community and young people, and it makes quitting even more difficult. So when you see it, it disproportionately targets communities, and we have to think about what it is doing to our communities. ”
In Indiana, the tobacco industry spends approximately $ 293 million annually on tobacco marketing. It’s $ 45 for each Hoosier.
As part of this marketing, approximately 92% of the tobacco industry’s budget is spent on point-of-sale marketing. These issues are of even greater concern in Elkhart County, where 20% of tobacco retailers are within 300 yards of a school and target teenagers.
In fact, 94% of retailers were selling flavored tobacco products such as candy or flavored fruit that might appeal to young people.
“When you look at minorities they get more addicted because when you get that cool feeling that’s addicting because menthol really damages your lungs, but they don’t think about it, they just think that. okay, there’s a big difference between smoking something regular and something that’s menthol-friendly, ”Morris says.
Learn more about the Minority Health Coalition or how to attend the event here.